McLaren will announce today very early details on a range-topping, hybrid-powered, “hyper-GT” it hopes to deliver to customers in early 2019. It has three seats, McLaren F1-style, and the child inside me is freaking out.
Speaking to AUTOMOBILE over the phone, a McLaren representative said “I’ll try not to overstate this, but we’re doing a new F1.” This is not a drill.
McLaren has codenamed the car BP23, which stands for “Bespoke Project 2” (the 3 refers to the number of seats). The car will presumably utilize an evolution of McLaren’s Monocell construction, which the company says will be a “streamlined, shrink-wrapped carbon fiber body of great elegance.” It’ll feature McLaren’s signature dihedral doors, this time powered and with apertures extending into the roof.
Before we get too excited though, there are a few things in McLaren’s official release on the matter that call for a closer look.
First is the bit about the power. McLaren says the BP23 will be “one of the most powerful McLarens yet created.” Right now that honor belongs to the P1 and its 903 total system horsepower, matched with 664 lb-ft of torque.
Second, the BP23 project is being characterized as a “hyper-GT” apparently because it will be “designed for longer journeys, but with the high levels of performance and driver engagement expected of any McLaren.” What the release doesn’t say is that the new car will be faster, wilder, or perform better than the current McLaren P1, which is a two-seater hybrid (below). Remember, when the McLaren F1 was released, it was the fastest car in the world. It would retain that title for no short stretch of time. It just doesn’t look like that’s the BP23’s target.
Instead, we may be looking at a kind of three-seat grand-tourer with the potency of the P1 and the comfort and usability of the 570GT. It’ll most certainly be a special car, though, as the BP23 will have bespoke switchgear and the most luxurious appointments and craftsmanship of any McLaren ever.
Based on the teaser sketch McLaren released, we’re definitely looking at a car with a slightly different shape than we’re used to with the company’s two-seaters. And with the driver all alone up front there’s clearly an invisible string McLaren wants to establish between the BP23 and the legendary F1; Woking will build just 106 units of the car, the same number of F1s built.
All we know for sure is that the hybrid hypercar segment is heating up once again. Between the Aston Martin AM-RB 001, the Mercedes-AMG R50, and now McLaren’s codename BP23, there is a lot to look forward to in the pipeline.
And if the BP23 sounds like it’s your thing, you’re already too late — all 106 units are sold out.