The McLaren P1

Back in September at the Paris motor show Mclaren made its first ever international motor show appearance to introduced the McLaren P1.

The McLaren P1 leverages five decades of McLaren’s motorsport skills. It was designed from the outset to prioritise aerodynamic performance and spent many hours in a wind tunnel and using CFD (computational fluid dynamics) aerodynamic modelling – just like a Formula One car.

Using advanced composite materials, the car will feature notable advances in weight reduction, packaging, high-speed performance, materials (especially carbon fibre), powertrain and in aerodynamics.

As with the McLaren F1 road car of 1992, the P1 is a mid-engine design that uses a carbon fibre monocoque and roof structure safety cage concept called MonoCage which is a development of the MonoCell used in the current 12C and 12C Spider. The structure of the MonoCage, unlike the 12C’s MonoCell, also serves to guide air into the engine through an integral roof vent and air intake ducts, saving further weight. All the body panels are carbon fibre to reduce weight. McLaren was the first company to offer a full carbon body Grand Prix car (in 1981) and the first to offer a full carbon body road car (the F1).

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There are also very few body panels. The McLaren P1 has large clamshell single-moulded front and rear panels, which are attached to the central carbon MonoCage, and that’s it, apart from two small access flaps in the rear, a front bonnet and the two doors. This reduces weight and the number of shutlines, creating a cleaner appearance..

The large carbon panels are also multi-functional, with integrated scoops and ducts to boost aero performance and cooling. The panels are extraordinarily thin and light whilst being very strong. Lightness, as with all McLaren road cars, was a priority for the McLaren P1. If one component can do the work of two, or more, it replaces the need for separate components.

Parry-Williams worked continually with the design studio to improve the surfaces, making them as beautiful as possible whilst maintaining optimum aerodynamics.

This approach is more weight efficient, but it does require more complex structures, with fewer parts but more design time

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