McLaren's legendary F1 hyper car was recently superseded by the P1, a 673kW twin turbo V8 hybrid speed monster. But it doesn't follow the F1 in the spirit of driving purity, according to the earlier car's creator, Gordon Murray.
Murray designed and engineered the 1992 F1, but he is not excited by his former employer's new P1 hypercar. The heavy electric motors and computer assisted components don't excite his passion for driving, and nor does the relative weight of the P1 and its closest rivals – LaFerrari and Porsche 918.
Instead he's planning a lightweight supercar, focused entirely on the driving experience. "I've got one more supercar left in me" he said to Motor Sport Magazine. The new Supercar would be limited to similar numbers as the F1, and would follow the same ethos.
Murray designed and engineered the F1 as a driver focused, lightweight driving machine that held the title for fastest production Supercar until the Bugatti Veyron took over – more than a decade later. It had a central driving position, Formula 1 style, to maximise the driving experience. It also featured a manual transmission, and a 468kW, 6.1-litre BMW V12 engine with no turbos so as to not detract from the immediacy of power delivery.
More importantly, it featured one of the first uses of a carbon fibre tub, which multiplied passenger cell strength while reducing weight – a technology that was still new in Formula 1 back then, and is still used in today's supercars. This resulted in a car that weighs just 1062kg, achieving a top speed of 391km/h, making it the fastest production McLaren yet – with the new P1 being limited to 350km/h.
Before he left McLaren, Murray penned a strategy for the British supercar company, where the F1 would get replaced by a smaller, lighter naturally aspirated driving machine. However, technological advances, the need for more efficiency, safety and lower emissions lead to the creation of the P1 Hybrid hypercar instead.
Murray expressed excitement at the challenge of a light new supercar that carries the spirit of the F1. "The fun and new challenge to me would be looking at this new brace of supercars, one-and-half-to-two tonnes, full of electrics and stuff, would be to dump all that and build a driver's car again", he said.
But those who think Murray completely disdains electric power should know that among his his nine other car projects underway is a city car called MOTIV.e, powered by a 25kW, and 896Nm electric motor, capable of 105km/h. Plastic panels on a lightweight frame keeps mass down to 730kg, and allow for a 160km range. Yamaha intends to produce it, having shown the world a preview at the Tokyo Motor Show last November.
For those who are excited by Murray's motivations but can't afford a new supercar, a cheaper sports car designed by Murray is due in 2017. The lightweight car will have similar simplicity and lightweight ideals as its supercar sibling, and will be joined later by several other cars, including an offroader.