2015 McLaren P1


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Current Owner (acquired new December 2014 via McLaren of Long Island)

In his autobiography, Bruce McLaren writes, “I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.” The McLaren P1 embodies that attitude, for while it has physics-defying abilities, it is distinguished by how it achieves this elevated performance.

Born in New Zealand in 1937, McLaren designed, built, and raced his own cars, founding McLaren Automotive, based in Woking, near London, in 1963. McLaren Automotive’s team is one of the most successful in Formula 1, with a total of eight Constructors’ Championships. The company’s leader for over 30 years was Ron Dennis, a Londoner who started in Formula 1 as a mechanic for Jack Brabham. Dennis saw a future beyond racing for McLaren and, capitalizing on the cult status of the company’s F1 road car from the 1990s, plunged the firm into road-car production, starting in 2011 with the MP4-12C.

By 2015, McLaren Automotive was ready to introduce its next ultimate supercar, the P1. The weight-saving mantra of Formula 1 is carried over to the P1: There is no carpeting or glove box, and the carbon fiber body parts go unlacquered. Special, thin glass is used, with titanium fittings. The P1 is assembled from just five body panels, saving weight and increasing structural rigidity. Unlike other hypercars, but similar to Formula 1 cars, the P1 is rear-wheel drive only. The P1 has a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8, delivering 727 hp standing alone. The displacement is similar to McLaren’s MP4-12C, yet the block is a different part number and casting to accommodate the giant electric motor, which adds 176 hp to the power train while also acting as the gas engine’s starter. Unlike traditional hybrids, which look to maximize economy, the P1 uses its electric motor to minimize the inefficiencies in the gas engine for maximum response. To use McLaren’s language, the motor provides “torque-fill” in those few milliseconds between shifting gears or while the gargantuan turbos are spooling up. There is also a full electric mode, allowing a six-mile range.

It is in fast, sweeping turns where the P1 especially excels, utilizing its colossal, Formula 1-esque downforce. To cope with these forces, Pirelli designed bespoke tires with especially strong sidewalls. Significantly, when driven fast, but nowhere near its potential, the P1 feels controllable and fun, and the prominent turbo whistle and popping wastegates deliver a terrific sense of occasion. The P1 has brake rotors made from an advanced carbon silica alloy. McLaren chose not to use braking to recharge the batteries for the motor, instead opting to deliver the ultimate in brake pedal feel. The rear spoiler automatically adjusts positions for optimum efficiency, sitting unobtrusively flush with the body at low speed. At speeds where it might be useful, it rises to provide downforce, and above 156 mph it feathers itself slightly to reduce drag. Emulating the Drag Reduction System (DRS) seen in Formula 1 since 2011, the driver can aerodynamically “stall” the wing using a button on the steering wheel. As in Formula 1, exhaust gasses are used to amplify the aerodynamic effect of the diffuser.

This single owner, low-mile example is presented in concours condition and finished in an extra-cost optional color, Ice Silver, with a black Alcantara interior. This combination is reminiscent of McLaren’s Formula 1 livery from the late 1990s until 2015, and stands apart from many of the flamboyant liveries placed on supercars. Additionally, it has been fitted with wider touring seats; the original slimmer seats are included with the sale. A five-point McLaren competition harness has been fitted in addition to the street seat belts, and an original backup camera has been integrated to the P1 by a McLaren dealer. Options include carbon fiber instrument and vent bezels, a P1 logo on the engine cover, and contrasting red stitching and McLaren logos on the seats. Also included with the sale are o riginal manuals, charger, designer-signed book, and tools. Supplied by McLaren of Long Island on December 15, 2014, the P1 has covered less than 1,800 miles in the hands of its fastidious steward.

Many collector cars transport us back in time; few transport us forward as viscerally as the McLaren P1. With only 375 examples made, this represents a compelling opportunity to own an engineering tour de force.