It might seem a touch unfair to compare cars built 20 years apart, but we’d reckon many people would give up an appendage to see how McLaren’s modern hypercar, the P1 stacks up to a legend in the sports car world, the McLaren F1.
After much wrangling, the gentlemen over at Evo were fortunate enough to encounter an enthusiast who happened to own both. The pairing couldn’t have been better between the two cars either, as owners of the F1 were given the chance to get the P1 in the same chassis number as their F1. They’re both even in the same color.
The F1 comes packed with a BMW-sourced 6.1-liter V12 engine. This naturally aspirated power plant sends 627 horsepower to the rear wheels by way of a wonderfully analog six-speed manual gearbox. All this power in the lightest package McLaren could put together resulted in a car that is still on record as the fastest naturally aspirated production car ever to have been built. In fact, topping off at 243 mph, it held the claim as fastest production car period until the title was passed to the Bugatti Veyron.
Meanwhile, the modern era has ushered forth the McLaren P1, a car that would’ve been incomprehensible to anyone involved with the production of the F1. The use of carbon fiber and LED lights, not to mention active aerodynamics, would have the engineers of old salivating. Of course, its hybrid powertrain of a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 married to an electric motor would’ve been beyond their wildest dreams as well.
The P1 is electronically limited to 217 mph, however, which is still under the 231 mph the F1 was originally restricted to. Still, the electronic engineering and sophistication make the P1’s 903 horsepower much easier to manage than the F1.
While a couple decades of mechanical and electrical engineering separate the two vehicles, it’s interesting to see how similar the two cars end up being when all is said and done. Both are paragon examples of supercars in their respective eras, achieving the pinnacle performance design and technology will allow. Both even sport a similar overall look, if you look carefully. Driving both seems like where most of the differences lie, but that’s to be expected. It seems, though, that each have the ability to keep drivers on the edge and a smile on their face.
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