2013 McLaren P1


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The New York Motor Show and Geneva Salon
2013 McLaren P1 XP (Experimental Prototype) Coupé
Registration no. XP05 MCL
Chassis no. SBM12ABB3BW990006

Nowadays, in these increasingly environmentally-conscious times, even supercar manufacturers are expected to make at least a cursory nod in the direction of better fuel economy and reduced emissions; hence the arrival of 'hybrid' technology in this previously exclusively fossil-fuels-only sector of the market. This has had the effect of endowing the modern supercar with some 'green' credentials, while at the same time bringing with it a welcome performance boost in the shape of an additional (electric) motor.

McLaren's first offering in this expanding category was the P1, a limited-edition plug-in hybrid coupé that was first shown to the public in 2012 at the Paris Motor Show. Like its conventionally-powered 12C predecessor, the mid-engined P1 used a carbon-fibre combined body tub and roof structure - 'MonoCage' in factory parlance - while retaining the marque's signature dihedral doors that had been a featured of its first road-going supercar: the F1.

A development of the 12C's, the P1's hydro-pneumatic suspension achieved even greater control of the car's roll and ride height. Weight saving had been a major consideration in developing the P1, so there was little in the predominantly carbon fibre cabin that need not have been there. According to Autocar magazine, the seats 'proved particularly comfortable for our testers, all of whom could find an excellent driving position. Customers can choose their preferred seat height at the factory, and the steering wheel (only ever fitted to the left of the cabin) is widely adjustable – manually, of course, like the seat runner, to reduce weight.'

BMW and Mercedes-Benz respectively had supplied engines for the F1 and SLR, but for the 12C, McLaren decided to develop its own. The rights to an Indy Car V8 racing engine were acquired from Tom Walkinshaw Racing, and with assistance of Ricardo this was transformed into a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged unit suitable for a road car. Manufactured by Ricardo at its Shoreham-by-Sea factory, it was a modified and strengthened development of this M838T engine that was used for the P1, delivering its maximum power output of 727bhp and 531lb/ft of torque via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Add to that the 176bhp and 192lb/ft of the in-house-developed electric motor, and the P1 had no less than 903bhp and a whopping 723lb/ft of torque at its disposal. 'Maintaining good driveability, given this level of specific output (and this engine... is remarkably docile), is one of McLaren's greatest achievements with this car,' declared Autocar.

A high-density lithium-ion battery pack powered the electric motor, which could be left to deploy automatically or selected by the driver, who thus had the options of using the petrol engine on its own, the electric motor on its own, or the two in combination. The battery could be charged by the engine or from the mains, with full charge achieved in two hours.

As one would expect from a manufacturer that has been a mainstay of Formula 1 for the last 50 years, McLaren endowed the P1 with a number of competition-derived high technologies in the form of IPAS (Instant Power Assist System), DRS (Drag Reduction System), and KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System). Tested by Autocar, the P1 accelerated to 60mph in 2.8 seconds on its way to a top speed (electronically limited) of 217mph (350km/h), with the standing mile dismissed in 18.2 seconds. Power reached the ground via bespoke Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tyres, while the carbon-ceramic brakes were claimed to stop the P1 from 186mph (300km/h) in an eyeball-popping 6.6 seconds. And if you wanted anything quicker, only the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport (30 cars built) could deliver.

McLaren unveiled the production version of the P1 at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, announcing that only 375 of these exclusive hypercars would be built. By the end of the year, the entire production run had sold out. The UK base price was £866,000, though as most customers chose to enhance their car's specification courtesy of McLaren Special Operations' extensive options catalogue, few would have been delivered for less than the equivalent of £1 million.

This McLaren P1's most recent V5C Registration Certificate records that it was declared new at first registration on 1st June 2013 and previously registered to 'McLaren Automotive Ltd David Ross Newall', McLaren Technology Centre, Chertsey Road, Woking. According to the V5C, the immediately preceding registered keeper was a London based collector, who acquired the car on 7th August 2015. Built into the weave of the carbon-fibre chassis tub is a 'McLaren P1' identity plaque stamped 'XP05', while a McLaren Automotive manufacturing details plate has been affixed to the interior. Both the three-quarter rear flanks have 'XP05 Experimental Prototype' script.

One of 14 experimental prototype P1s and one of few such prototypes that were not crash-tested, 'XP05' was used only to test the gearbox and Bosch fuel injection. McLaren also employed this example as their GTR Show Car at the New York Motor Show and Geneva Salon before returning it to P1 specification.

Having been fully refurbished by McLaren Technology Centre, if not fully rebuilt as a production model prior to its first sale, 'XP05' appears still to be in 'as new' condition both inside and out having covered only some 339 miles from new. The bodywork in McLaren Orange with black highlighting is unmarked, while the inside surfaces of the scissors doors are scuff-free and the carbon black interior is pristine. The present registered keeper, a UK-based collector, purchased the car from Derbyshire-based supercar dealer Tom Hartley Jnr on 5th December 2017 and subsequently displayed it at Rétromobile, Paris in February 2018.

With its international motor show history and key role in the development of McLaren's iconic hypercar, this stunning P1 XP is a 'must have' for the serious collector.