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McLaren P1 will do battle with Porsche's 918 Spyder

The McLaren F1 is a legendary supercar that still commands respect two decades after its initial introduction. Labeled by many as one of the greatest -- if not the greatest -- road car of all time, following up on such an iconic legend is a tough task.
McLaren is now ready to pass the touch onto an equally impressive machine: the McLaren P1.
Although the P1 was first unveiled to the public last year, we're now getting some detailed information about the vehicle's powertrain. Whereas the F1 used a normally aspirated, BMW-sourced V12 engine, the P1 uses a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 engine paired with an electric motor. The twin-turbo V8 by itself generates a whopping 727hp and 530 lb-ft of torque, while the electric motor tacks on another 176hp and 191 lb-ft of torque.
When combined, the powertrain is good for 903hp and 663 lb-ft of torque. While impressive, it's still not enough to match the sheer power of the two-ton Bugatti Veyron, which is rated at 1001hp and 922 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the Veyron, however, the P1 likely won't weigh as much as a midsize SUV.

McLaren states that the P1 can travel up to 6 miles on battery power alone (the vehicle's lithium-ion battery pack weighs 210 pounds), and the vehicle can be plugged into a household outlet to recharge.
Performance figures for the McLaren P1 aren't in yet, but we can't wait to see this latest hybrid supercar do battle with Porsche's upcoming 918 Spyder.

Sources: Facebook, Motor Authority

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RE: Weight
By MrBlastman on 2/20/2013 2:58:30 PM , Rating: 2
You're missing the point.

As someone who has raced cars in the SCCA solo circuit for a short while, I can tell you there are two types of racers:

Speed freaks and G freaks.

Both are looking for a different thrill. G freaks like lateral Gs in turns. The higher the G force, the better! Speed freaks, on the other hand, looooove acceleration and top end. G freaks love acceleration too, but to a lesser extent.

So, you have two different camps--and, with this car, you have a dilemma.

See, the P1 has twin turbos and one of the biggest problems associated with turbos is turbo lag. Without getting into a technical discussion of what turbo is best--just know that it is there. The lower your engine RPMs, the lower the amount of exhaust gas produced--and these gasses are used to spin the turbo which then compresses the air and sends it into the cylinders.

So, you have spool-up. When a turbo spools up, it is operating efficiently and compressing large amounts of air. At very low RPMs, they compress little air, adding little benefit.

Now, most turbo charged cars are tuned to run efficiently and optimally on boost. Outside of boost they suffer from lower horsepower and more importantly... torque. Torque is what helps you get moving from rest. Horsepower helps you go fast. The lower your torque, the harder it is to accelerate.

Electric motors are inherently good at providing LOTS of torque at LOW RPMs. By adding in electric motors, Mclaren has overcome the acceleration problems on the low end that would have been a drawback to the turbochargers. It might add weight... but it helps the car leap off the line better.

It helps the speed freaks.

Having driven a turbocharged car for nearly the last decade, I've come to appreciate the pros and the cons. Turbo lag is just one of those cons you learn to deal with and, to a lesser extent (and to the chagrin of your clutch and flywheel) develop ways around it.

RE: Weight
By tng on 2/20/2013 5:27:16 PM , Rating: 2
I was wondering about the layout. With the battery sitting right in the middle of the car, where is the center of gravity and does the placement of the battery and all that weight help or hurt the cornering and grip?

RE: Weight
By MrBlastman on 2/21/2013 11:01:24 AM , Rating: 2
I'd say it helps a lot with where they put the battery. If you look at the diagram, you'll see that the engine places a lot of weight on the rear wheels which helps give them grip accelerating off the line but more importantly, gives a weight bias to the rear of the car making it easier to kick the back end loose in a turn allowing it to rotate laterally easier thus getting around sharper turns faster depending on the situation.

The center placement of the battery was a smart move as it is both centralized negating any tendency for one side of the car to break free easier than the other but also not putting too much weight in the back of the car also.

RE: Weight
By Omega215D on 2/20/2013 5:41:51 PM , Rating: 2
Ahh, the days when I drove an STi for Rally America...

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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