They say before you arrive you must firstly set out with a mission. For Woking based McLaren, that journey stared in 2010 and the realisation of the McLaren MP4-12C. A somewhat underwhelmed response to that car spawned the vastly improved 650S – essentially a V2.0 of the 12C, although never admitted by McLaren – and hinted at the greatness to come. Then came the extraordinary plug-in Hybrid P1 from late 2013 wiping the smirks off Maranello and Zuffenhausen’s faces. Forget an illustrious back catalogue with pre-eminent desirability, McLaren were taking on automotive royalty in one go and causing shockwaves. Who did these guys from England think they were?
It’s March 1st, 2016 and we’re at the 86th Geneva Motor Show where the McLaren are launching the 570GT sharing the stand with the now sold-out 675LT and the – good luck on ever getting your hands on one – P1 Hybrid Hypercar, plus the 650S GT3 racing car.
Where some manufacturers showcase a new car and make rumblings about green issues, McLaren is setting out its Track22 business plan for the next six years. Taking to the stage is McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt saying that by 2022 McLaren promise 50 percent of their cars will be offered with hybrid powertrains with electrification being high on their agenda. “Our next hybrid vehicle will launch towards the latter part of our six-year plan”, indicated Flewitt, “our engineers have started working on a one-off prototype to evaluate the possible benefits of a fully-electric powertrain in the Ultimate Series car”. This may suggest a fully electric P1 replacement is possible in time.
Central to McLaren’s Track22 plan is a self-funded £1 Billion investment at Woking (McLaren has been profitable for the past 3 years) and a doubling of production to spawn 15 new models by year 2022. A planned Spider version of the new 570GT will happen along with plans for LT to run as a sub-brand. There will be a parallel powertrain to complement the existing M838T engine, to co-exist at Woking.
2015 was a good year for McLaren with 1,650 reported new cars delivered and all of the 375 McLaren P1 models sold out. Other news was the launch of the 675LT (or long tail) and the introduction of the Sports Series. Described as a game-changer by Flewitt, these cars were created to broaden the appeal of McLaren. The new 570GT comes with reduced 15 percent front and 10 percent rear spring rates for a softer ride and a new Touring Deck – essentially an rear window that opens from the side for luggage storage and accessibly. Possibly making the McLaren more akin to a Porsche 911 – a true everyday supercar.
Many automotive car companies make the boldest claims at Motor Shows with grand visions for the future. So too, are McLaren. Although with their track record after just 6 short years, it would be an unwise person that bets against them.