Gulf Auto Zone

Unearthed: McLaren MP4-12C

A McLaren MP4-12 C that limited edition supercar, was spotted in Bahrain. GAZ got chatting with the person who drove the car but did not want his name mentioned. We look under the skin of this super speedster, production of which ended in April 2014.

The importance of this car comes from the 12-C being the first production, wholly created by McLaren.

The MP4 12-C is mid-engined, powered by the McLaren M838T 3.8-litre V8, twin-turbo engine developing approximately 592 hp (441 kW; 600 PS) and around 443 lb·ft (601 N·m) of torque and can seat only two. It’s essentially a performance car. However, the car we spotted, was driven on the streets. He said that the only good place to drive the car is on the circuit.

When we looked at driving on the streets in Bahrain, which does not permit speeds above 100 kilometre per hour, he said the MP4 needs more than that to flex its muscles.

The model is a one-piece moulded carbon-fibre ‘MonoCell’ chassis mated to aluminium engine support and crash structures.

The car we saw had undergone a little modifications – the exhaust had undergone modification.

The car has a 3.8-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 capable of delivering 600bhp and 443lb ft of torque. He said that the car boasts under 300g/km carbondioxide; the lowest emissions per horsepower of any car in the world.

It weighs only 80kg (176lb). The non-structural body work of the 12C is in aluminium and low-density SMC (sheet moulding compounds) panels that are 11 per cent lighter than those of any production car.

McLaren MP4-12C weighs only 1.3 tonnes (2,860lb), making it at least 75kg (165lb) lighter than nearest competitor. It can thus be called among the lightest supercars in the world. Its weight-saving solutions include the world’s first use of a 12v lithium-ion battery, a magnesium beam dashboard support, rear-mounted radiators that minimise cooling pipework, forged aluminium and cast iron brakes lighter than carbon-ceramic options, and hexagonal aluminium wiring.

From start the engine leaps to a speed of 125 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds. When asked about the highest attainable speed, he was quick to point that the car can reach over 200 miles, pushed to the limit.  GAZ learns that the car is able to do a standing quarter mile in about 11 seconds.

The McLaren, a company more famous for its racing team, has used many formula one technologies in its cars. These include the brake steer, which helps to balance and grip the car through fast corners. The  airbrake increases downforce at speed and moves the centre of pressure rearward under heavy braking.

Looking at a little history of the 12 C, it’s design was unveiled in September 2009, and production was launched in mid-2011.

Power is transmitted to the wheels through a seven-speed seamless shift dual-clutch gearbox.

The carbon fibre body has reduced the time required to produce a MonoCell from 3,000 hours for the F1 and 500 hours for the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, to four hours for the MP4-12C.

The car has a conventional two side-by-side seating arrangement.The car’s central console is narrower than in others. Interior trim and materials can be specified in asymmetric configuration – known as “Driver Zone”.

Dubbed the “Seamless Shift Gearbox” or SSG, the gearbox features a system dubbed “Pre-Cog” that allows the driver to preselect the next gear by lightly tapping the paddle. The Coupe (in reality) can do 218.61 mph (352 km/h). It can brake from 200 km/h (124 mph) to a complete stop in under 5 seconds. Braking from 100 km/h (62 mph) to zero can be done in under 30 metres (98 ft), around seven car lengths.

We look at the name involved in each McLaren, The MP4 is the designation for all McLaren Formula 1 cars since 1981. It stands for McLaren Project 4 as a result of the merger between Ron Dennis’ Project 4 organisation with McLaren. The ‘12’ refers to McLaren’s internal Vehicle Performance Index through which it rates key performance criteria both for competitors and for its own cars. The ‘C’ refers to Carbon, highlighting the application of carbon fibre technology to the future range of McLaren sports cars.

On July 10, 2011, the MP4-12C set the third fastest lap posting a time of 1 minute and 16.2 seconds.

Exterior upgrades from the standard MP4-12C included Carbon-Fibre Louvered Front Wings and CF Rear Bumper Vents to relieve wheel-well pressure build up at high speeds improving down force.

When the Dihedral doors are open the visible door sill panels have “MP4-12C PROJECT ALPHA” embossed in the Carbon-Fibre.

Inside the cockpit upgrades include a Carbon-Fibre Alcantara wrapped steering wheel and an all CF interior trim pkg. The remainder is covered primarily in black Alcantara Leather with deviated stitching, including a black Alcantara Instrument Cluster Cover.

Under your feet there are bespoke Floor Mats with alloy Milled Badges announcing ‘Project Alpha’ in matching body color paint. Affixed to each drivers door panel the vehicle’s unique Chassis Number is embossed on a brushed stainless steel badge.

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