British supercar company McLaren has started work on what it describes as the “most powerful and aerodynamic” road-going car in its history.
Imbued with Formula 1-developed technology, the new car, codenamed the BP23, isn’t due to be delivered to any of its 106 future owners until early 2019. However, two years is far too long for most hypercar fans to wait so the company has been sharing some carefully selected details about what to expect when it officially breaks cover.
The first is that it will have a one-plus-two seating layout, just like that found in the company’s first road car, the McLaren F1. Launched in 1992, it was the world’s fastest production car until the Bugatti Veyron came along.
McLaren has been quick to point out that the new car isn’t a 21st century take on the original F1, though it will pay homage to it in some aesthetic respects, such as its planned production run (106 units).
“BP23 will borrow the three seat layout with the central driving position made famous by the iconic McLaren F1, and it will be housed in a streamlined, shrink-wrapped carbon fibre body of great elegance,” said McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt.
This body will cover a four-litre twin turbo V8 engine working in concert with a hybrid system, so a similar powertrain set up to that found in the company’s last hypercar, the P1 built between 2013 and 2015.
Still, the company promises that in the new car, the system will set a new benchmark beyond the combined 903bhp offered by the P1 and, more importantly, will serve up this power in a road-centred rather than track-focused way.
“A hybrid powertrain will make it one of the most powerful McLarens yet created,” said Flewitt. “But the car will also deliver the highest levels of refinement, enabling significant journeys to be undertaken with up to three people aboard.”
And this is where the new car will seriously differ from every McLaren that has gone before, and in doing so potentially risk, or welcome, comparisons between it and the Bugatti Chiron.
“We are calling BP23 a ‘Hyper-GT’ because it’s a car designed for longer journeys, but with the high levels of performance and driver engagement expected of any McLaren,” continued Flewitt.
And even though each of the 106 multi-million-pound cars has already been sold, the BP23 will be good news for all McLaren customers as its hybrid tech will be filtering down to the entire range over the coming years. By 2021, all series production cars built by the company will be hybrid and the BP23 will be serving as a very exclusive test bed.