McLaren is one of the most successful race teams in Formula One, but unlike rival Ferrari, it doesn’t make many road cars. Its current supercar, the Mercedes SLR McLaren, was a relative disappointment, particularly when judged against the impossibly high yardstick of its predecessor, the McLaren F1 , which remains one of the quickest, fastest and all-around best-performing supercars of all time. So when the Woking, England-based firm announced the development of the P11, potential customers began calling the factory, which has already taken dozens of orders long before the car has even been unveiled.
British magazine CAR claims to have the inside line on the supercar, having spoken with some of the engineers working on the project – McLaren is said to be in the process of hiring more –and have put together an educated guess on the car’s spec sheet. While the F1 diced it with the likes of the Ferrari F40 and Porsche 959, and the SLR took on the Enzo and Carrera GT, the car tentatively code-named P11 is expected to go down-market (that being a relative term, of course) to target the likes of the 430 Scuderia and 911 GT2. Power is anticipated to come from sibling-company AMG’s 6.3-liter V8, putting some 500 horsepower down through the rear wheels for a sub-4-second run to sixty and a top speed over 200 mph. Expect carbon-ceramic brakes to figure into an aluminum and carbon-fiber package sized in between Audi’s TT and R8.
CAR claims its renderings are fairly close to the mark for the supercar that will launch in 2010 and be produced in annual runs of less than 5,000. Don’t expect the car to be dipped in chrome like its grand prix stable-mates, though.