The Nurburgring is often regarded as the ultimate proving ground for cars, hence McLaren’s proud announcement that its P1 supercar has achieved a lap time of less than seven minutes on the legendary circuit.
Although the British manufacturer refrained from giving an exact time, leaving us to wonder whether it matched the Porsche 918‘s time of 6 minutes 57 seconds, that sub-7-second figure puts the P1 in a very elite club of vehicles that includes the track monster that is the Radical SR8 LM.
To achieve such a lap time the P1’s had to average a speed of 111mph as it hurtled around the 13 mile Nordschleife circuit located in Germany, which has 154 corners, straights that go on for days and an elevation change of 300 metres, while on stock road tyres.
One of the fastest ever lap times was completed by Stefan Bellof on the 29th of May, 1983, in a Porsche 956. He managed a time of 6:25.91. Niki Lauda was able to achieve a time of 6:58:02 in the Ferrari 312B3 Formula One car in 1974.
Part of the McLaren P1’s ability to rival that of old F1 cars and most supercars comes down to its engine, or rather, engines. A 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 provides a monstrous 727bhp and 720Nm of torque, while an electric motor takes the total output to 900bhp and 1,080Nm of torque at the push of a button. NOS, eat your heart out.
In a car that weighs 1,400kg the performance was always going to be insane. Think 0 to 124mph in 6.8 seconds and 0 to 62mph in 2.8 seconds. Amazingly, it does this while only pumping out 194g/km of CO2, making it cheaper to tax than a BMW 5 Series.
McLaren says the P1 boasts 599kg of downforce — five times more than the McLaren 12C — generated partly by its clever bodywork, but also by its enormous retractable spoiler.
“Over the past dozen-or-so years I’ve owned a lot of ultra-high-performance road cars,” McLaren F1 driver Jenson Button commented. “I’ve driven the McLaren P1 on a number of occasions – including up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it was sensational – and I think it’s a truly superb machine: unbelievably refined yet unbelievably quick.”
Jeremy Clarkson has described the P1 as a car like nothing else, going some way to justifying the £866,000 price tag. Assuming, of course, there are any left to buy.
Watch the McLaren P1 in action below.