McLaren Automotive

McLaren Automotive, commonly referred to as McLaren, is a British automotive manufacturer of high-performance vehicles. The company was established as McLaren Cars in 1989 as a producer of road cars based on Formula One technology. It works closely with McLaren Racing, the successful Formula One constructor, and is a spinoff of McLaren Group.

Ron Dennis
Woking, Surrey, United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Ron Dennis, (Chairman & CEO)
Martin Whitmarsh, (Deputy Chairman)
Antony Sheriff, (Managing Director)
McLaren Group
McLaren Group
McLaren Special Operations
McLaren Technology Centre
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes


McLaren M6GT

The McLaren M6GT project started when New Zealander Bruce McLaren decided to enter Le Mans endurance racing in the late 1960s. The plan was to take an M6 Can-Am car and develop a coupe body that would be competitive in long distance racing. To meet regulations at the time a minimum of fifty cars had to be completed. However, homologation problems lead to the project being scrapped.
McLaren M6GT
Having always harboured an ambition to build his own road car, McLaren wanted to turn the project into the ultimate road car. He wanted to build the fastest and quickest accelerating car in the world that translated their expertise on the race track, to create the definitive road going sports car.
In early 1970 work began on the GT so he could use it on the road in an effort to find out what problems would have to be overcome.
Together with chief designer Gordon Coppuck, Bruce planned to refine the prototype, eventually aiming to produce up to 250 cars per year. In fact, only two M6 GTs were ever built — the original prototype and a second built by Trojan. The original prototype, OBH 500H, became Bruce's personal transportation, and remained so until his untimely death at Goodwood on 2 June 1970 when the road car project died with him.

McLaren M81 Mustang

Ford announced the formation of a Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division headed by Michael Kranefuss in September 1980. SVO's stated purpose was to "develop a series of limited-production performance cars and develop their image through motorsport." Ford introduced the McLaren M81 Mustang in late 1980. The work of designers Todd Gerstenberger and Harry Wykes, it was another heavily modified hatchback with enough built-in potential for easy adaptation to race duty. Looking somewhat like the IMSA show car, the McLaren sported a grille-less nose above a low-riding "skirt" spoiler, plus functional hood scoops, tweaked suspension (mostly a mix of heavy-duty off-the-shelf components), massive fender flares, and premium German BBS alloy wheels wearing broad-shouldered 225/55R15 Firestone HPR radials.
The McLaren Mustang teamed Ford Design with McLaren Performance of Formula One racing fame. Planned production was just 250 examples. Power was again provided by the turbo-four, but it was newly fortified with a variable boost control having a range of 5 psi (0.3 bar)-11 psi (0.8 bar) vs. the regular engine's fixed 5 psi (0.3 bar). Rated output was 175 horsepower (130 kW) at 10 psi (0.7 bar), a big jump over the 132 horsepower (98 kW) stock engine. A $25,000 price tag and virtual hand construction limited McLaren production to just 10 units (including the prototype).

McLaren F1

McLaren F1
The company's first car was the McLaren F1, a sports car that would accelerate from 0–60 miles per hour (0–97 km/h) in 3 seconds. The F1 was a three-seat coupe with the driver situated in the middle of the car. The car was designed by Gordon Murray, who also designed competitive formula one racecars for McLaren. The 6,064 cc (370.0 cu in) V12 engine, which produces 627 bhp (468 kW; 636 PS), was designed and built by BMW.
Production of the original F1 began in 1992. The LM model was then introduced in 1995, followed by the GT model in 1997. The GTR was built from 1995 through 1997. Production of the McLaren F1 drew to a close in May 1998, with a total production of 100 cars. Variants produced were 64 F1 (street car), 5 LM, 3 GT, 9 GTR95, 9 GTR96 and 10 GTR97.
The McLaren F1 GTR was developed from the F1 road car, and proved highly effective in the four hour GT races in 1995, its first season of racing. TheLe Mans 24 Hours that year was to be McLaren's first attempt at the world's most prestigious endurance race.
McLaren logo from the sill plate of a McLaren F1
McLaren decided to update the 001 chassis–the original test car–and enter it to augment the five customer cars that had been running all season. It was this car, piloted by former Formula One racers JJ Lehto and Yannick Dalmas and experienced Japanese driver Masanori Sekiya that took the chequered flag after a race full of drama. McLaren F1 GTRs finished 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th.
The F1 held the record for the fastest production car until 2005, with an independently measured top speed of 242.97 mph (391.02 km/h) at the Volkswagen Ehra-Lessien track in 1998. It has a 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) time of 3.2 seconds. This has been bettered by the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, and the SSC Ultimate Aero TT. However, the F1 is naturally aspirated while the CCX, Veyron and SSC Aero are not.


In 1993, Ron Dennis announced the formation of McLaren Advanced Vehicles (MAV) and an attack on the Land Speed Record with the Maverick supersonic car. Bob Bell was recruited as the technical director for the project. The project was given a budget of £25 million, but after the success of Richard Noble and Andy Green's Thrust SSC, the project was shelved.

McLaren Mercedes MP4/98T

McLaren MP4/98T
Launched in Australia at the beginning of the 1998 Grand Prix season, the West McLaren Mercedes MP4/98T was the first tandem Formula One car. The unique race car was designed by Gordon Murray to mirror the performance of then contemporary Grand Prix grid and allows a passenger, seated directly behind the driver, to experience the power and exhilaration of a Formula One car. Safety and comfort were fundamental to the design criteria, based on the forces experienced in a Formula One car.
Incorporating many of the F.I.A. driver/passenger safety regulations, the MP4/98T has increased side-impact absorption to safeguard the passenger. Each passenger was seat-fitted using techniques prevalent in Formula One. This specialist foam seating is fitted into the carbon fibre monocoque. A six-point F1 harness seat belt system further ensures the safety of the passenger. A carbon fibre honeycomb composite structure, faced with 75 mm (3.0 in) of CONFOR viscoelastic foam padding separates the driver and passenger helmet area.[5] Specified according to the F.I.A. impact absorption regulations, this CONFOR foam design is duplicated on the rear of the headrest structure to protect the passenger in the event of a frontal impact. Together with the head restraint they provide rearward and frontal impact absorption for the driver/passenger configuration. A passenger/driver alert button completes the safety elements.
Numerous celebrities have been passengers in the car, including: Max Mosley, Murray Walker, King Juan Carlos and Erja Häkkinen.
  • Year: 1998
  • Model Designation: McLaren Mercedes MP4/98T
  • Chassis: McLaren carbon fibre monocoque
  • Engine: Mercedes-Benz Ilmor FO110G 3.0 litre V10
  • Gearbox: McLaren six-speed semi-automatic
  • Electronics: TAG Electronics
  • Wheels: Enkei
  • Tyres: Bridgestone
  • Dampers: Penske
  • Brakes: AP Racing
  • Clutch: Sachs
  • Fuels & Oils: Mobil 1
  • Adhesives: Loctite
  • Radios: Kenwood

SLR McLaren (P7 Project)

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren at the September 2004 Paris Motor Show
In 1999, McLaren agreed to design and manufacture the SLR in conjunction with Mercedes-Benz. DaimlerChrysler was the majority shareholder of the McLaren Group as well as engine supplier to the Team McLaren racing team through its Mercedes-Benz division. The final stages of production of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren take place at a unique assembly facility at the McLaren Technology Centre.
The SLR has a 5.5 Litre Supercharged V8 engine that produces 626 bhp (467 kW; 635 PS). It can accelerate from 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) mph in 3.8 seconds and 0–100 mph (0–160 km/h) in 6.3 seconds.
In 2006, the Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR 722 Edition was announced. The "722 Edition" creates 650 bhp (480 kW; 660 PS), with a top speed of 340 km/h (6 more than the standard SLR). A new suspension is used with 19-inch (480 mm) light-alloy wheels, a stiffer damper configuration and 0.4 inches (10 mm) lower body.
In 2007, the Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR Convertible was announced, which has been available from late 2007. The car uses the same supercharged 5.5 litre V8 that is in the coupé.
There is now a limited edition called the SLR Stirling Moss. It is the final SLR to be produced and is a tribute to Sir Stirling Moss. Beneath the scissor-doors is a plaque which has Moss' signature on it.

Aborted projects (P8, P9 and P10)

The partnership between Mercedes-Benz and McLaren resulted in three further cars being proposed. The P9 was to be a mid-engined baby supercar with a less expensive model, the P8 or "SLS", competing with cars such as the Ferrari F430, the Bentley Continental GT and the Aston Martin DB9. Both cars were to be powered by naturally aspirated V-8 engines. The P10 would have been an SLR replacement.
All three cars were aborted in 2005, with Mercedes rumored to have considered the projects simply too costly to turn into a solid business case, although Mercedes' AMG subsidiary produces the SLS alone as the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. The car has a naturally aspirated V8 with over 570 bhp (430 kW; 580 PS). Sales in Europe began from mid-2010.

McLaren Automotive

After McLaren Group decided to enter the road car market, the assets of McLaren Cars Ltd were spun out into a new compay, McLaren Automotive Ltd. The current shareholdings are:
  • Bahrain Mumtalakat: 40.86%
  • Peter Lim: 22.86%
  • TAG Group: 18.14%
  • Ron Dennis: 18.14%

McLaren MP4-12C (codename P11)

McLaren MP4-12C
McLaren Automotive developed the M12C (formerly known has MP4-12C), as their second production car since the F1. Rumours were confirmed when Britain's CAR Magazine published the spy shots of the car (then known as P11). The rear wheel drive 12C is powered by a mid-mounted bespoke McLaren M838T 3.8-litre V8 twin-turbo engine and will have a revolutionary "Carbon MonoCell" carbon fibre chassis. The McLaren 12C also features F1-inspired technology like brake steer, which brakes the inside rear wheel during fast cornering to reduce understeer, and a seven speed Seamless Shift dual clutch gearbox (SSG) with a technology called Pre-Cog. Pre-Cog is the name given to a system whereby the driver can half-pull the paddle shifter behind the steering wheel to get the transmission ready for an upshift, then instantaneous gear change once the paddle is fully pulled. The 12C, whose design was unveiled on 8 September 2009, was launched in 2011 and based on price and performance competes in the same market segment as cars such as the Ferrari 458 Italia and Lamborghini Gallardo at a price point of £165,000+.

McLaren P1 (codename P12)

McLaren had developed a new car under the "P12 project" name, which would supposedly cost around £350,000-£400,000. It was first talked of in an issue of the Top Gear Magazine, but it has now also been mentioned by Vinnels, who admitted that a higher price point "will allow us to play with more exotic materials." The P12 project was unveiled as the all new McLaren P1 at the 2012 Paris Auto Show.
Each model starts at £866,000. Only 375 examples of the P1 are planned to be produced.

The Baby McLaren (P13)

In issue no. 1,015 of Auto Express Magazine, there was an article about a new McLaren coming out in 2012. It was expected to cost around £80,000, and have a top speed of around 195 mph (314 km/h) and 450 bhp (336 kW; 456 PS). More recent information suggests the project may have been delayed until 2015, and is aimed as a direct competitor to the Porsche 911, suggesting a possible price decrease to around £60,000.
In April 2012, The Manufacturer website reported that the P13 would be revealed at the Geneva show in 2013, for deliveries beginning in 2015.

McLaren X-1 (concept car)

During the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, McLaren showed a new concept car built specially for an unknown customer and his own order. The car had various cars after which it was being modeled after, like the 1961 Facel Vega, 1953 Chrysler D'Elegance Ghia, 1959 Buick Electra, 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K and 1971 Citroën SM.

List of McLaren car models

Current models
Historic models
F1, F1 LM, Mercedes SLR
Future models
The Baby McLaren
Concept cars
McLaren P1, McLaren X-1

Last updated on 7 September 2013 at 00:00.


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