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McLaren releases photos of its new supercar, the P1

McLaren P1 front three-quarter viewMcLaren announced that it would bring a new supercar to the Paris Motor Show with an avant garde light sculpture, but now e can see the car as it really is. Called the P1, it will top McLaren’s current MP4-12C in performance and serve as a successor to the record-breaking F1.

According to McLaren, the P1’s only goal is “to be the best car in the world on road and track.” It certainly looks like it can accomplish that goal.

As was hinted at in McLaren’s first teaser, the P1 bears a familial resemblance to the MP4-12C, with the same smiling front end (albeit pulled out into a more demented, Joker-like grin). It also looks a little like the F1, with cab-forward proportions and an air scoop on top of the cockpit.

McLaren P1 profile viewHowever, the P1 takes McLaren’s styling themes one step further. The headlights wrap around front air intakes, and the painted and unpainted surfaces of the body seem to melt into each other.

At the back, a huge piece of mesh occupies the space normally reserved for the taillights; McLaren took full advantage of the flexibility of LEDs for this shape. Finally, a giant central exhaust outlet punches a hole through the back end.

“Our aim is not necessarily to be the fastest in absolute top speed but to be the quickest and most rewarding series production road car on a circuit,” McLaren managing director Antony Sheriff said in a statement. He said McLaren wants to make the P1 a well-rounded car that dominates all aspects of automotive performance and pushes the boundaries of technology.

A paradigm-challenging supercar from the people who brought us a car with a gold-lined engine bay definitely sounds good, but it will be some time before the P1 starts terrorizing tracks.

McLaren P1 rear three-quarter viewSo far, the P1 is only a design study; it will go into production late next year and will be shown in ready-to-drive form sometime in early 2013.

Since the MP4-12C already makes 616 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, and the P1 is supposed to surpass it, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the new car brandish over 700 hp. Rumor has it that Ferrari’s hybrid Enzo successor will have 730 hp, so the McLaren will need at least that much to match it.

More details will be available after the P1 makes its official debut at the Paris Motor Show on September 27.

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