McLaren Automotive, rather than resting on its laurels, has instead announced a package of enhancements that will make its 12C high performance sports car even more invigorating to drive yet even easier to live with.
Headlining the changes is a 25PS (25hp) power increase. It takes the maximum output of the mid mounted, twin turbocharged V8 engine to 625PS (616hp) to give yet more vivid acceleration at track speeds with no loss in efficiency. Modifications have been made by McLaren?s engineers to the 12C?s engine and SSG
transmission increasing responsiveness. Ease of use, a phrase not often associated with cars of this type, is further improved through a host of detail changes while a wider variety of paint, leather and wheel options give customers yet more scope for personalisation. The 12C?s unique Intake Sound Generator (ISG) system,
which controls the amount of engine intake sound heard in the cabin, is now programmable across three levels in all three Powertrain modes allowing the driver to select the amount of aural drama he or she wants to enjoy, whatever the road. But one aspect that hasn?t changed is the 12C?s purposeful styling … apart from a subtle revision to the McLaren Speed Marque badge, that is.
This latest iteration of the 12C, which at launch set a new benchmark among its competitors for power,
efficiency and pioneering technology, is available to order now. Customers who have already taken delivery of a 12C are not being neglected, though. Every 12C owner is being offered a package of upgrades, including the extra 25PS (25hp), at no cost, underlining McLaren?s commitment to its customers ensuring they enjoy owning their 12C as much as they do driving it.
Antony Sheriff, McLaren Automotive Managing Director said: “Given our racing heritage, it is in our nature to continuously seek out improvements. The team at McLaren Automotive recognizes that our existing and future customers deserve the very best product and service we can offer, and the launch of the enhanced 12C reaffirms its position as the most powerful luxury sports car among its competitor set.
“We designed and engineered the 12C from a clean sheet of paper, and I am delighted with the innovative technology package created for our first sports car. Our customers love driving a car with technologies and
systems that have proved successful in Formula 1 and which create an incredible driving experience in a
unique new high performance sports car. New and existing customers will now enjoy an even better experience thanks to the upgrades.”
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The location is a closely guarded secret, and only a handful of people outside of the McLaren staff have ever been allowed through the door. Since Ron Dennis took control of the team in 1981, no McLaren Formula One? car has been sold on the open market. Instead, those that completed the season's racing have been stored here, in a former factory building
somewhere in the south of England. It's known simply as Unit 2, and the reason for the secrecy is apparent as soon as you enter. At its peak, Unit 2 held around 75 of the world's most historic racing cars: the McLarens which, over almost half a century of racing, have won twenty drivers' and constructors' world championships. Their combined value is simply incalculable, but also irrelevant, as they will never be offered for sale.
The atmosphere inside is oddly still: racing cars are all about speed and noise yet they are held in suspended animation, looking almost ghostly under their plastic shrouds. Together, they're an astonishing sight for any McLaren enthusiast, or
simply for any sports fan. They're painted in some of the most instantly recognizable, genuinely iconic sporting liveries, and their air intakes still bear the names of the greats who drove them, from Senna and Prost to Hamilton and Button.
Around them is arranged everything the McLaren engineers need to get them running again: neatly stacked rows of period wheels and tyres; the jacks made to fit each successive design of car, and even long-obsolete laptop computers needed to run the software that some of the cars require. It's a treasure trove, an Aladdin's cave: any McLaren enthusiast simply wouldn't know where to look first.
So it wouldn't be fair to keep such extraordinary cars locked away. Some are on loan to the Donington Grand Prix collection at the famous circuit in the English Midlands, scene of many a famous McLaren victory. Others are seen on display and in action at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed. And if you're fortunate enough to be invited to the McLaren Technology Centre, the jewels of the collection are arranged along the building's stunning central boulevard.
Now, with the launch of the 12C, more of those dust sheets are being pulled off and the treasures of Unit 2 will be seen far more widely. McLaren is opening 35 showrooms by the end of 2012 to supply its new sports car and every one will have a Unit 2 car on display when it opens: not a plastic dummy, but a genuine race car: one that bites.
The first to be sent out was Lewis Hamilton's 2008 championship-winning MP4/23 which was hung over the entrance to the London showroom at One Hyde Park. Every other McLaren retailer has been allocated a car and McLaren's team of historic experts led by Ian Gosling has prepared them. In some cases the cars are in perfect condition and only need a polish and to have their fluids drained before they can be freighted to their new home. For others, the years have started to
show, so the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes paint shop has, with sensitivity, helped to restore them to their full former glory. Ian and his team ensure that they are not just aesthetically perfect but complete, and just as they were when racing. But he
admits to a few tricks of the trade: the quick-release steering wheels are well-secured so nobody takes an unauthorized souvenir while they're in transit, and sneaking in an inner tube helps to keep porous old racing rubber at the perfect pressure while parked.
In many cases, the cars have a specific link with the location. The dealership in Brussels will get a 2004 MP4/19: Kimi
Raikkonen won the Belgian Grand Prix for McLaren that year in that car. Ayrton Senna won the 1993 Monaco Grand Prix in the MP4/8, so that's what you'll see in the principality. James Hunt won the 1976 US Grand Prix in a McLaren M26, you'll find one in the Philadelphia dealership. Not all heritage cars are from Formula 1 competition: Dallas gets a McLaren M16 from the same era, one of the greatest-ever Indy cars with three victories in the legendary race.
The importance of some of the cars you will see in the dealerships is magnified by the fact that they may be the sole
surviving example of their type; not only are these cars real, but in some cases utterly unique and irreplaceable. For others, the attentions of Ian and his team are an extraordinary reawakening; some cars went straight into Unit 2 after the end of their season and haven't emerged since; the car you see might barely have turned a wheel since it took its last chequered flag. As they emerge, the number of cars kept in storage back at Unit 2 will dwindle to the twenties. But we still can't tell you where it is.
? Last week marked the official opening of two of McLaren Automotive's US retailers – McLaren Beverly Hills and The Collection McLaren (Miami).
Celebrations began at the McLaren Beverly Hills state of the art showroom on Tuesday, January 10th. Located on the famed Wilshire Blvd, the venue played host to more than 400 attendees. A number of celebrities
including renowned car enthusiast and McLaren owner Jay Leno; actor and part-time racer Patrick Dempsey, musician Pitbull and TV actor Tim Daly were amongst the guests. Current and future MP4-12C owners were treated to an evening of exclusive entertainment as well as an address from McLaren Group and Automotive
Executive Chairman and CEO Ron Dennis, and The Auto Gallery Co-President Tony Schwartz.
On Thursday January 12th, The Collection unveiled its new Miami based McLaren dealership. Prior to the official opening, a private reception with Ron Dennis was held exclusively for 12C customers at the new South Florida showroom. Dealer Principal, Ken Gorin, opened the main event and officially introduced McLaren Automotive and the 12C to Miami with an evening of drinks and live music.
For information about McLaren retailers in your areas please visit our
For the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d?Elegance McLaren Automotive staged the “McLaren Speaker Series".
A set of presentations delivered by McLaren Automotive company directors covering subjects from design philosphy to the application of Formula One technology on the new MP4-12C. McLaren Automotive also
welcomed a guest speaker, Car and Driver magazine Technical Editor Aaron Robinson, to give the audience
an insight into the secrets of testing supercars.
Robinson said “I?m looking forward to seeing the 12C on roads in North America. It won our recent supercar group test, largely because of the way its technology translates to outstanding performance. McLaren has huge brand equity in North America and I have no doubt the company and its planned range of sports cars has a bright future here.”. You can watch the full interview with Aaron Robinson below.
Be sure to visit the official McLaren Automotive YouTube channel for all the latest MP4-12C and McLaren Automotive videos.
On November 17th McLaren Group CEO and McLaren Automotive Executive Chairman Ron Dennis welcomed the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP to open the newest addition to McLaren
headquarters in Woking, Surrey – the McLaren Production Centre (MPC).
Accompanying Ron Dennis and Mr Cameron were Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, Cyclist Mark Cavendish on behalf of McLaren Applied Technologies, and representatives of all the McLaren Group companies.
During the visit to the MPC Prime Minister David Cameron said that he had never seen anything quite like it.
Describing the work of McLaren Group as “inspiring”, the Prime Minister said his visit was a great reminder that
Britain still had “world class engineering, world class manufacturing and world class production techniques.” He added "it's visits to places like this that make me optimistic about the future, even in the difficult times we face.”
Addressing the assembled media and dignitaries Ron Dennis outlined his vision for the future of the McLaren Group and British engineering “We?re a relentlessly competitive entity, bred on high-performance and
determined to bring to market ground-breaking products and solutions that are set apart by their top quality and dependence on totally unique and highly innovative steps in performance. To take just one example, we?re poised on the verge of a hugely exciting automotive programme with our high-performance sports car, the MP4-12C.”
He continued “Through everything we do, we?re absolutely dedicated to fostering the rebirth of one of Great Britain?s industrial cornerstones: beautiful and meticulously crafted high-tech industrial design and
manufacture... everything that McLaren is has been built on the founding principles of good design and solid, seamlessly efficient engineering and manufacturing.”
David Cameron was given a full tour of the new production facility, which will house the manufacturing operations for the new MP4-12C high performance sports car, and at peak production it will be possible to build a car in five days and a new MP4-12C will join the line every 45 minutes. The MPC shares its design philosophy with the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC), to which it is connected by a 100m tunnel. For more information about the MPC, be sure to watch our launch video below.
On Monday 14th November, McLaren Group & Automotive Executive Chairman Ron Dennis, along with McLaren Automotive Managing Director Antony Sheriff, collected the prestigious Walpole award for Best British Luxury Brand. McLaren Automotive emerged as the winner of the title from a shortlist of some of Britain?s most revered luxury firms, all of whom exemplify excellence in the luxury sector. On collecting the award Ron Dennis said “We set out to build a world leading automotive business, manufacturing and
marketing category leading, high performance vehicles. To be recognised by such esteemed peers as having
also built Britain?s Best Luxury Brand is both an honour and reaffirmation for our team that we are moving in the right direction.”
McLaren Automotive today confirmed that its Asia Pacific network will be managed from a wholly-owned
McLaren subsidiary, McLaren Automotive Asia Pte Ltd, based in Singapore. At a press conference today, Ron Dennis, Executive Chairman, McLaren Automotive and McLaren Group, announced plans for the subsidiary.
Ron Dennis said: “2011 is a landmark year for McLaren. This is an exciting new chapter in our history, and success in the Asia Pacific region is vital to our ambitions. Confirming Peter Lim?s involvement with the
company and the setting up of McLaren Automotive Asia shows our ambition for the region that is becoming the world?s focus for premium cars.”
McLaren Automotive Asia Pte Ltd will be responsible for all of McLaren Automotive?s regional operations throughout its Asia Pacific network including; importation, distribution, logistics, sales, marketing, technical support and financial services for McLaren?s range of high-performance sports cars.
Five McLaren retailers in the Asia Pacific region are due to open towards the end of 2011 and future expansion into the region is anticipated, with initial plans under consideration for expansion into mainland China. Ron Dennis concluded “We have enjoyed racing success here in the past and I am confident that the region will also prove to be hugely influential in the future for McLaren Automotive.”
McLaren Special Operations have celebrated their launch at this year?s Pebble Beach Concours d?Elegance by presenting an exclusive MP4-12C finished in a unique version of Volcano Orange paintwork, and featuring a range of bespoke carbon upgrades.
McLaren Special Operations is the new division of McLaren Automotive, responsible for the delivery of
bespoke projects for McLaren sports cars – and is headed by Programme Director Paul Mackenzie. “McLaren Automotive already offers 12C customers extensive options to personalise their car. However we recognise some owners have specific tastes and we have the knowledge and capability to design, engineer and produce almost anything a customer may desire for their 12C.” said Mackenzie.
The exclusive 12C unveiled at Pebble Beach was created to showcase the type of the bespoke treatments that McLaren Special Operations will offer – customised options on display included:
- Satin matte Volcano Orange paintwork
- Gloss black roof
- Diamond cut finish wheels with gloss black inners
- MP4-12C branded carbon sill panels,
- Carbon steering wheel
- Front wheel arch louvres
- Carbon fibre engine cover vents, rear deck vent and wiper system cover
McLaren Automotive also presented a second special version of the MP4-12C on the ?Concept Lawn? at Pebble Beach. This unique 12C was painted by McLaren Racing, using AkzoNobel Sikkens chrome coating, which is usually applied exclusively to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 cars.