McLaren Automotive is a British automaker born from McLaren Racing, a successful Formula One constructor. Perhaps best known for the F1 supercar of the 1990s, which held the production automobile top speed record for many years, the company has since introduced the Ferrari 458 Italia-rivaling MP4-12C and the ultra-exotic P1 supercar.
The company draws its name from McLaren Racing founder Bruce McLaren, a native of New Zealand and an engineer,...
inventor and racecar driver. Though McLaren died in a testing crash in 1970, his team continued on, achieving a great deal of success in the 1980s with drivers Niki Lauda, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna.
McLaren Automotive was established in 1989 with the mission of producing high-performance road cars based on McLaren Racing's Formula One technology. The company's first vehicle, the F1, caused a sensation for its raw power, innovative technologies and record-breaking top speed.
Introduced in 1992, the F1 used a naturally aspirated V12 developed by BMW's M division that made a staggering 618 horsepower, enough to push the 2,500-pound car to a top speed of over 240 horsepower. The F1 also boasted nimble handling as well as a unique seating arrangement with the driver seat located in the center and flanked by two passenger seats. Though not developed as a racing car, a modified version of the F1 won the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in 1995.
After the F1's production run ended in 1998, McLaren teamed up with racing partner Mercedes-Benz to jointly engineer the Mercedes SLR, a potent grand tourer that was produced from 2003 through 2010.
Following the conclusion of the SLR project, McLaren embarked on the development of its second production car, the MP4-12C, which began production in 2011. The MP4-12C features a McLaren-designed V8 mounted amidships that employs twin turbochargers to produce 592 horsepower from just 3.8 liters of displacement. A convertible variant is also offered.
McLaren's latest car is the fearsome P1, which features a hybrid powertrain capable of 903 horsepower along with a host of lighweight materials like carbon-fiber, aluminum and Kevlar that keep mass to a minimum. The P1 is expected to command in excess of $1.2 million, and just 375 examples will be built.