The McLaren P1 is a showcase of cutting-edge technology and inspired design applied to automotive engineering. Incredible acceleration, handling, and braking deliver an exhilarating experience on the track, a rewarding drive on a favorite winding road, as well as remarkable convenience and comfort for the urban commuter.
Based in Woking, in the English home counties, McLaren road cars are styled with a nod to the company’s distinctive, modern chevron logo. The McLaren Technology Group, the namesake of driver and race-car designer Bruce McLaren, is described primarily as a technology company, and was led for over three decades by Ron Dennis CBE, a Londoner who started in Formula 1 as Jack Brabham’s mechanic and grew into the archetypal Formula 1 team boss. Under his guidance, the P1 was developed as the next generation of the near-mythical F1 model. In all, 375 P1s were built, each to a custom specification to suit the desires of each individual customer.
The P1 applies hybrid technology in a completely new way. In stark contrast to traditional hybrids, which alternate between gas and electric power, the P1 uses its electric motor for torque fill to eliminate tiny inefficiencies in the gas engine’s performance. In those few milliseconds during gear changes, and while the gargantuan turbos are spooling up, the electric motor contributes seamless power. Phenomenal levels of downforce are generated using an active rear spoiler and an exhaust-utilizing diffuser, and high-grade and exotic materials are used throughout the car, including the brake rotors that are coated in silicon carbide.
The accelerator pedal of a P1 has been characterized as a hyperspace button, but it is the power delivery that defies description. Both Chris Harris and Jeremy Clarkson, journalists who have had experience with most every hypercar from around the world, saved their gasps for when the P1 was traveling beyond 150 mph and still accelerating with the same alacrity it had from 15 mph. The P1 is particularly stunning in fast, sweeping turns, as this is where the colossal, Formula 1-inspired downforce comes into play. At speed, the rear-wheel-drive P1 inspires confidence and is eminently controllable while drifting through a curve, and the prominent turbo whistle and popping wastegates deliver a visceral driving experience.
The rear spoiler adjusts in height and angle for maximum efficiency. At low speeds, it sits unobtrusively flush with the body; as speed increases, it rises to provide downforce; and above 156 mph it feathers itself slightly for optimal effect. Pirelli developed tires especially for the P1 as stiffened sidewalls are necessary to handle the extraordinary levels of downforce generated by the air moving over the P1’s surfaces.
The P1 points to the future of high-speed motoring – not because it harnesses almost 1,000 bhp and is among the fastest cars of all time, but because it handles so well and can be enjoyed so easily. In under a minute, the P1 can seamlessly readjust itself from commuter-car Jekyll to track-day Hyde. Many collector cars transport us back in time, but few allow us to glimpse the possibilities of the future as effectively as the P1. Upon its debut, Mr. Clarkson remarked of the P1: “It’s a game-changer, a genuinely new chapter in the history of motoring … and on a track, it can rip a hole through time.”
The story of the P1 offered here dates to late 2013, when the consignor decided he wanted to commission a spectacular car, use it himself for a time, then sell it and donate the proceeds to his alma mater, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, one of the nation’s top engineering schools. The consignor has now pledged that his proceeds from the sale of this P1 will be donated to Rose-Hulman in order to establish the Alfred R. Schmidt Chair for Excellence in Teaching.
Founded in 1874, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is dedicated to preparing its students with the world’s best undergraduate science, engineering, and mathematics education in an environment infused with innovation, intellectual rigor, and individualized attention. The college, located in Terre Haute, Indiana, has an enrollment of approximately 2,175 undergraduate students and nearly 100 graduate students. A U.S. News & World Report national survey of engineering department deans and senior faculty has consistently ranked Rose-Hulman no. 1 in undergraduate engineering education.
Achieving the perfect vehicle for this philanthropic project was the subject of a collaborative design process that evolved over many months between the consignor and the McLaren design team at the factory. The final version of the exterior color, aptly named “Professor 2 Blue,” was adjusted in hue and metallic grain through several iterations before it matched the precise vision of the owner. Likewise, the placement of the red accent stripes, the unique matte black and silver finish of the wheels, and the configuration of the McLaren nomenclature at each end of the car were all recipients of months of fine tuning to achieve this P1’s incredible livery.
The interior was treated to the same attention as the exterior. This McLaren is one of as few as two P1s fitted from new with specially molded seats that are upholstered to recall the design of the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona’s iconic seat pattern. While the P1 is not normally fitted with a passenger-side vanity mirror, the consignor had one designed and installed by McLaren, etched with a message to his wife: “You look beautiful.” The pattern and finish of each section of the interior’s exposed carbon fiber monocoque was individually chosen, as were the colors of various hand controls on the console. The overall effect of the interior design is at once inviting, comfortable, and perfect for any type of driving that suits the car’s pilot.
Once the car was completed, it was signed by Frank Stephenson, McLaren’s design director, and Ron Dennis before it left the factory.
This P1 was originally sent to McLaren of Philadelphia; before taking delivery, the consignor allowed it to be displayed in the dealership’s showroom, with the proviso that any visitor under age 12 be invited to sit in the car. Since taking possession of the P1, the owner and his family – who affectionately refer to it as “The Professor” – have enjoyed it near their home on freshly paved country roads. On a recent test drive by a Gooding & Company specialist, the car was found to perform flawlessly in every suspension setting that was selected.
Gooding & Company is proud to bring this truly magnificent automobile to market, and its sale represents the final page in an ambitious plan to further improve a leading 143-year-old engineering institution. There is no question that the technological excellence in each P1 makes it special, but this example, singular in its aesthetic design, is certainly among the most enthralling of them all.
Reference Number 462250
as of 3/12/2017