McLaren's P1 supercar has achieved its one remaining performance target, a sub-seven minute lap around the famed Nurburgring circuit.
The 20.8 kilometre lap with more than 150 corners and elevation changes of 300 metres, was driven at an average speed in excess of 178 kmh.
The Nürburgring, or the Nürburgring-Nordschleife to give it its full name, is one of the most fearsome circuits in the world. It winds through Germany's Eifel Forest and was a date on the Formula 1 calendar up until 1976, when it was dropped from the championship on safety grounds after the crash that nearly cost multiple world champion Niki Lauda his life. That race, as depicted in the recent Hollywood blockbuster, Rush, saw James Hunt claim pole position and overall race victory for McLaren, on his way to becoming world champion.
The circuit has a challenging mixture of off-camber corners and tight, technical sections finished with the 3.5 kilometre long Dottinger Hohe straight that means a compromise between high downforce for optimised cornering and low drag for improved top speed for the ultimate lap.
Therefore Nürburgring is considered the toughest test track to measure the all-round performance of any car.
McLaren has not yet revealed the actual lap time, but the feat is quite impressive when it is considered the McLaren P1 is a production car and was running on standard road tyres.
The Supernova Silver P1, codenamed XP2R, was driven 627 kilometres from McLaren's base in Woking, England, to Nurburgring. On arrival at the track, ''race'' mode extended the active rear wing by 300mm, dropped the ride height by 50mm and saw the RaceActive Chassis Control suspension system stiffen by 300 per cent – a fully-focussed track car at the push of a button.
The P1 generates up to 600kgs of downforce through the use of advanced active aerodynamics which, in conjunction with the bespoke tyres, provides unprecedented levels of grip and superior balance and handling. This allows the P1 to carry greater levels of speed through the corners, and achieve higher apex speeds, and the optimised traction enables the driver to get on the power earlier.
The P1 is equipped with a dual powerplant drivetrain generating 916PS (903 bhp). A highly efficient 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 petrol engine produces 737PS (727 bhp) which is coupled to a 179PS (176 bhp) lightweight electric motor to offer optimised performance. The drivetrain offers instant torque and throttle response, with performance figures to match – 0-100 kmh in 2.8 seconds, 0-200 kmh in 6.8 seconds and 0-300 kmh in 16.5 seconds.
McLaren has produced a great video of the P1's achievement.