The car that put McLaren back on the map

10th August 2021

A black McLaren P1 hypercar with open scissor doors

McLaren as we know it has only been with us for just over 10 years and the P1 is the car that really made the car world sit up and take notice.


McLaren has a rich automotive history, mostly in motorsport, that reaches as far back as the 1960s. Up until 2011, the only road cars on its CV consisted of the legendary F1 and its collaboration with Mercedes on the SLR. Not a bad CV to start out with.

Large 2104 Mclaren12c

The British company’s second 'hypercar' is what really took things up a notch. How do you follow up a flagship as groundbreaking as the McLaren F1? The reveal of the P1 answered that question with great aplomb. A healthy 727hp from a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 was a good start, but it also had a further 177hp from an electric motor.


It was a hybrid hypercar, and a clever one at that. It can roll around on just the electric motors for 30 miles, but the performance gains are far more impressive. McLaren utilised the electric motor to fill in the gaps in the torque curve and even aid with turbo lag. The P1, like the F1 before, was innovative.

Large 8398 Mclarenp15thanniversary

It was faster than the F1, too. The old gun may have had a top speed of 240mph compared to the P1’s 217mph, but everything up to that speed is firmly in the newer car's court. From a standstill, it’s half a second quicker to 60mph and just shy of 6 seconds quicker to 186mph. The P1 definitely has the bite to back up its striking looks.

Large 8397 Mclarenp15thanniversary

It formed one part of what is known as ‘The Holy Trinity', the modern hypercar tripartite, joined by the Porsche 918 and LaFerrari. These three hypercars were game changers for supercars and performance cars, ushering in a new age of hybrid and electric technology.

Large 8402 Mclarenp15thanniversary

The P1 was a resounding success for McLaren. All 375 sold out within a month of it going on sale. Those production numbers make it considerably rarer than both the 918 and LaFerrari. Infinite options were available to P1 buyers in order to make sure each car is unique, so you won’t find two cars with the same spec, either. 


Going head-to-head with the best Ferrari and Porsche could conjure was a bold move. For what was a relatively new company, the P1 really hit the mark and ensured McLaren were placed firmly back on the map. Since then they’ve launched a number of critically acclaimed cars known for being not just fast, but focused on being fantastic drivers cars.