Ahead of its official reveal in Geneva in a few weeks’ time, we’ve seen plenty of the McLaren P1 already. The show car the British sports car maker unveiled in Paris last year was said to be 97% representative of the real thing, bar some minor detail changes. Last week saw the release of a few more teaser shots of the production model, and now we finally get a glimpse of the F1-successor’s interior.
To say that it’s a minimalist design would be an understatement. McLaren has never been known for lavish, extravagant cabins – the F1 and MP4-12C both taking the “less is more” design route. For the P1, McLaren has taken the concept to the extreme, getting rid of all clutter and distraction from the driver. The reason? To make the driver feel in complete control. And save weight obviously.
It offers the driver a “cocooning, efficiently packaged and comfortable cabin” inspired by the cockpit of a fighter jet (ooh so very original). All-round visibility is optimised with the glass canopy overhead and a windscreen that is deeper than it is wide, making the car easier to plant on the road and track.
Kit count is kept at a minimum, as is the number of switchgears available. Only “necessities” such as full climate control, satellite navigation and a bespoke premium sound system by British audio specialist Meridian is packaged as standard.
McLaren is a pioneer in the use of carbon-fibre, both in Formula 1 and road going cars, utilising the tech to devastating effect in the late ‘80s and ‘90s before others caught on. The P1 continues that trend by having a full carbon-fibre MonoCage chassis, body panels and, you guessed it, interior as well.
The lightweight material used for the dashboard, floor, headlining, doors, rockers and a single piece is shaped for the central control unit to further optimise weight. Attention to detail within the cabin of the P1 is such that, to further reduce weight, the top layer of resin has been removed, to leave the carbon non-lacquered for a more natural look… saving a further 1.5 kg.
There is no sound deadening whatsoever, and even carpets are only offered as weighty options. Should you ignore the evil stares from the salesperson and choose to have them, it will be fitted with a “special lightweight backing” to minimise the weight penalty.
That’s not the end of it yet. The bucket seats use the minimum amount of foam, are encased in ultra-thin carbon-fibre shells, and mounted on lightweight brackets and runners. Each seat will be custom fitted to the driver’s height, the back fixed to 28 degrees from vertical (or 32 degrees for track work and helmet clearance), and a six-point race harness is standard.
Oh, and the steering wheel (finished in Alcantara with carbonfibre inserts) diameter is as technically precise as a McLaren racing driver’s wheel. You really can’t fault McLaren for not taking things seriously, can you?