McLaren P1 GTR is an unapologetic hybrid race car

Sections: Chassis, Powertrain

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McLaren P1 GTR press photo

The track-only McLaren P1 GTR gets a ton of aerodynamic tweaks in addition to a more-powerful, nearly 1,000-horsepower hybrid powertrain. Can we drive one? Pretty please? (Photo courtesy McLaren Automotive)

The McLaren P1 GTR was unveiled last week as a “design concept” that, according to the automaker, aims to be the “most track-tailored and most-powerful produced by McLaren Special Operations to date.” Do we wish we could get some track time in one? Of course we do.

The press release from McLaren said the P1 GTR Design Concept unveiled at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California last week serves as a preview to the final model that will go into production in less than a year.

“With no need to meet the legislations for road legality, the McLaren P1 GTR will be the most track-tailored and most powerful model produced by McLaren Special Operations to date, with a clear target even more focused than its road-going sibling: to be the best driver’s car in the world on track,” the release said.

Being based on the McLaren P1 Hybrid road car, it should come as little surprise that the McLaren P1 GTR racer will be a hybrid, as well. Total system horsepower stands at 986 from the combination of a lightweight electric motor and a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 gasoline-powered engine.

The release said the McLaren P1 GTR has been thoroughly re-engineered from the ground-up to ensure it achieves its goal of being the ultimate driver’s car on the track. Part of that re-engineering sees the car get completely reworked aerodynamics, including a wider front track, reprofiled front radiator ducts, aggressively flared front wheel arches, and a lowered, race-prepped suspension that rides at a fixed height. The McLaren P1 GTR gets mirrors that are repositioned to the A pillar for better aerodynamics, as well — the street-going P1 having mirrors mounted to the door skins.

The McLaren P1 GTR also gets race-inspired 19-inch alloy wheels — 10.5 inches wide at the front, and a whopping 13 inches wide at the rear. All wheels are, in race fashion, secured with quick-release center-locking wheel nuts — all the better for fast pit stop times. Also better for pit stop times: The McLaren P1 GTR takes a page from the McLaren 650S GTR by incorporating an on-board air jacking system.

A twin-element rear wing is fixed in position and is outfitted with a hydraulically actuated drag reduction system (DRS) that, according to McLaren, boosts acceleration and provides increased downforce compared to the roadgoing P1. The DRS reportedly works in concert with a set of active aerodynamic flaps ahead of the front wheels to optimize aerodynamic balance through all phases of cornering. With the fixed rear wing in place of the street-legal P1’s power stowable wing, the release said the McLaren P1 GTR has redesigned rear bodywork that improves airflow below the rear wing.

Finally, the aerodynamic tweaking even takes place underneath the new McLaren P1 GTR. The release described it this way:

Airflow is managed carefully across the whole car and channelled in the most efficient and effective ways possible. This includes the air below the car, and a large carbon fibre diffuser dominates the lower half of the rear of the car. This is designed to work in tandem with the rear wing to enhance rear downforce and grip levels.

Between its more-powerful powertrain, fatter, stickier, race-spec tires, and all those aerodynamic body tricks, the McLaren P1 GTR sounds positively insane. We dig it because it’s unashamed of being both a performance car and a hybrid. And as tech junkies and car lovers, we are totally into this era of hybrid acceptance. When hybrids are winning the 24 Hours of LeMans, it’s a good time to be a fan of hybrid and alternative powertrain cars.

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