Having driven the McLaren P1 extensively on track and road, TopGear has not, at any point in its acquaintance with the 903bhp hyper-hybrid, thought: “You know what this car needs? More power…”
Good thing McLaren doesn’t listen to TopGear. This is the P1 GTR, a track-only racer revealed at California’s ritzy Pebble Beach meet. A car, says McLaren, with a simple aim: to be the best driver’s car in the world on track. A car with yet more power than the absurdly powerful road-going P1.
How much more power? Precisely 83bhp more than the, ahem, standard P1, taking overall output from the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 and electric motor to 986bhp. Veyron power.
McLaren is yet to reveal performance figures, but the GTR will trump the road-going P1’s 0-62mph of 2.8 seconds. Not much save a top fuel dragster will get off the line quicker.
But there’s a whole lot more here than a twist of extra boost. The GTR uses the same carbon fibre ‘MonoCage’ chassis as the road P1, but sits lower on fixed suspension.
As you’ll have spotted, it gets a bigger wing, fixed on carbon fibre pylons where the road P1 employs an active, retractable spoiler. This has allowed McLaren to remodel the P1’s rear with a smooth, flowing surface, improving airflow and reducing turbulence.
There’s a new centrally mounted exhaust rendered in Inconel and titanium, which, says the Woking outfit, ‘maximises the aural characteristic to […] further emphasise the McLaren sound.’ This is Ron-speak for ‘makes a bloody noisy racket’.
The P1’s front track has been widened by eight centimetres, with the nose gaining a bigger splitter. New aero blades aft of the front wheelarches ‘clean’ the air from the front tyres, with an additional side panel at the rear channeling extra air into the radiator.
Those wheels are quick-release 19-inch racing alloys, with 270-section tyres at the front and 330s at the rear. Yep, 330s. The tyres are bespoke Pirelli slicks, which, says McLaren, offer improved grip and handling balance. In the dry, at least. In the wet, TopGear imagines those slicks will offer increased crashing.
There’s also an onboard air jacking system – borrowed from McLaren’s 650S GT3 racer – for quicker tyre changes.
The GTR will only be offered to the 375 existing P1 owners, with an asking price somewhere very close to £2m. Though McLaren hasn’t officially stated how many GTRs it’ll build, we’re told it could be as many as 30 cars, depending on demand.
McLaren’s Special Operations unit (MSO) will maintain and run all the cars, and also offer an extensive training programme to ‘help each driver mentally and physically to fully exploit the abilities of the P1 GTR’. For which read ‘learn how not to crash spectacularly on every single corner’.
That name – and indeed paintjob – references the F1 GTR, a GT version of McLaren’s original hypercar that took outright victory at Le Mans in 1995. But the P1 GTR, of course, isn’t eligible to race at Le Mans (unless, that is, it sneaks into Garage 56).
Like the extraordinary, daft Zonda R, the P1 GTR, is a race car that doesn’t fit into any existing race formula. And, of course, can’t be driven on the road. Absurd? Absolutely. Pointless? Absolutely not.