Following up on the companies' partnership in Formula 1, McLaren and Honda could cooperate on future high-performance road cars. Autocar wildly speculates that both McLaren and Honda are open to the possibility of co-developing production cars, in addition to the existing plans for a shared F1 effort.
While the new relationship is far too early (and reached far too late) for McLaren to have any input on Honda's upcoming Acura NSX, the Japanese manufacturer may help McLaren develop its proposed Porsche 911 competitor. The McLaren P13 is rumored to be an entry-level sports car that will compete with the 911. Although several earlier reports suggested that the McLaren P13 would be powered by a Honda engine, McLaren itself suggests that car has nearly been finalized already, likely with a bespoke engine design.
"If you look at our product range, [the McLaren] 12C is running and will run for a few more years. P1 has just been launched and P13, which is the follow-up car, is relatively developed," McLaren Group CEO Alan Whitmarsh told Autocar. "Our road car strategy at the moment has no other automotive partner and Honda would be a good place to collaborate."
Any partnership between McLaren and Honda would be a "bilateral technical" connection, allowing the two companies to share knowledge on series-production sports cars. It's unclear exactly what types of sports cars would result from the tie-up. The Acura NSX’s chief engineer previously told us that the new Honda supercar (pictured) is being benchmarked against the McLaren 12C, but it's unclear whether McLaren will provide any technical input on the new model.
Honda announced earlier this year it would return to Formula 1 racing as an engine supplier for the McLaren team. The McLaren Honda team will start racing in the 2015 racing season, with the new 1.6-liter turbo V-6 engines mandated for the racing series from next year. Honda will also build the hybrid-like Kinetic Energy Recovery System for McLaren F1 cars.