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Thursday
Feb142013

The Gypsy Rose Lee of Supercars

By Christopher A. Sawyer

McLaren continues its slow striptease of its P1 supercar with the release of photos and descriptions of the car’s interior. These images show an interior much different than that of the MP4-12C, and more like a Le Mans racer of recent vintage, with a windshield taller than it is wide and a glass roof section that should tax the car’s climate control system on sunny, hot days.

The MP4-12C, while far more Spartan than the average luxury sedan, is a luxury car in comparison. That’s because McLaren’s current road car is designed to compete against the likes of Ferrari’s 458 Italia. The P1, on the other hand, is meant to be the ultimate road and track car; there should be few distractions for the driver of so focused a vehicle. Nevertheless, the P1 does feature full automatic climate control, satellite navigation and a custom Meridian sound system, all shared with the MP4-12C. It just doesn’t have a lot of buttons and switches scattered about the cabin to control them.

In addition, the top layer of resin was removed from the carbon fiber used throughout the P1’s interior. To show how little this layer of lacquer weighs, this naked carbon fiber covers the instrument panel, floor, headliner, doors, rocker panels and the single-piece central control unit, but removed just 3.3 lb (1.5 kg).

McLaren didn’t stop there, however. The P1 has no sound deadening. You can get carpeting for the floor, but it’s an option and comes with a lightweight backing. Thin (“ultra-thin” claims McLaren) carbon fiber shells provide the base for the seats, which use a minimum of foam padding to, you guessed it, save weight. Mounted on lightweight brackets and runners, the seats weigh 23.2 lb (10.5 kg) each, and have fixed seatbacks. These can be set at 28 degrees from vertical or 32 degrees from vertical. The latter is to make it possible to get more room for a helmeted head when the car is raced.

The height of the seats is tailored to suit the driver and passenger, but can be adjusted in the garage should your wife wonder why the passenger seat has been set for someone taller with “legs up to here”. Of course, should you decide not to fit six-point harnesses (the mounting points are built in), the standard inertia-reel seatbelts won’t give away the passenger’s waist and bust size. Then again, you might be too intent on gripping the Alcantara and carbon fiber steering wheel after talking to her attorney to care.

 

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