Insight from Designer Frank Stephenson.
McLaren let their P1 hypercar concept loose in front of the world at this years Paris Motor Show. We were able to grab an interview with head designer Frank Stephenson to go over the provocative bodywork.
Starting from the back, since we were curious about what might be lurking underneath, Frank began by telling us the engine bay would be lined in 24K gold, likes its F1 big brother. The exhaust shrouds and heat vents are made of titanium for rapid heat displacement. The rear grille inserts will also be titanium with a matte black finish while fully exposing the engine – much like a Ferrari F40. The rear diffuser came straight off a racecar with some design details more fitting to the P1.
The rear wing incorporates active aerodynamics functions like air braking, a KERS inspired down force detection and of course automatic deployment. While its hydraulic system is fast, we feel it’s the only feature on the car, aesthetically that could use some refinement. Seeing two rather large pistons shoot up from the elegant bodywork isn’t what you’d hope to see from a car of this caliber (we are also talking about the Veyron as well).
Ducting is everywhere you look. The front houses several intercoolers for the “turbos” (something we were able to confirm out of our conversations with Frank). The doorsills incorporate Forumla1 air foil technology just behind the front wheels allowing for a refined air flow underneath the car and behind the wheels.
The roof houses not only an induction chamber but also another unique feature. Located above the driver’s door a hidden gas filler cap is underneath an opaque glass cover. We certainly are looking forward to seeing the P1 at a gas station next to a Mercedes-Benz SLS. Should make for an interesting roof mechanism show down.
Up front a giant piece of carbon fiber seems to have been shoved into the mouth of the P1, peeling back its cheeks in process. The headlights are cleverly designed to look like McLaren’s logo, with LED lighting to match. You can also find the McLaren swoosh between the rear haunches and c-pillar as integrated naca ducts, a nice design touch if you ask us.
While we were elated to see the new concept car from McLaren, we were disappointed that no details beyond the aesthetic, and the few gems we were able to pull out Frank, were disclosed. The promise of more spec information about the car is said to be coming during next years Geneva Auto Show.