Finally! Porsche 918 and McLaren P1 duke it out, with Laguna Seca as their battleground

The latest season of Top Gear was promising a showdown between the top three supercars on the roads today; the Porsche 918, Ferrari LaFerrari, and the McLaren P1. While its future was in turmoil last month, Motor Trend attempted to give this endeavor a shot on its own, lining up all three cars to make an appearance at the famous Mazda Laguna Seca race track. We talked about this before, but MT has now uploaded video of the cars that showed up duking it out.

If you didn’t catch the story before, the MT team lined up the McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 for the exercise without issue. They had a La Ferrari owner agree to its use, but Ferrari said “no” to its use for hot laps and data acquisition. While that put a little damper on the affairs, it’s still not going to spoil having two hypercars on hand for pro racer Randy Pobst to throttle them on the track.

Porsche 918 Spyder

To start, Pobst sets off in the Porsche 918 and is immediately thrilled by how the 4.6-liter V8 delivers 608 horsepower to the rear wheels as well as the 279 hp sent to the front by the hybrid electric motor. As much as Pobst praises the all-wheel drive of the 918, he’s aware of the P1’s lightness.

When it comes to the McLaren, the P1’s power plant generates a total of 908 horsepower due to a 3.8-liter twin turbo V8 working in tandem with its own electric motor. One of the main differences in this vehicle is that all that power goes straight to the rear wheels. It makes it wilder than the 918, but will its lightness and power be enough to beat the control of the Porsche?

McLaren P1

Much to the surprise of many, the Porsche 918 came out on top, with a 01:29.89 lap time. Try as it might, the McLaren can’t set a time faster than the 01:30.71 run it laid down.

It goes to show that though both cars have taken the same approach to power, they’ve done so in radically different ways. The end result in cars that constantly trump each other back in forth in different areas, but still manage to be fairly equal. The battle for hypercar supremacy carries on, but this is one significant notch on Porsche’s belt.


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