The latest dispatch from our spy photographers shows the McLaren P1 hypercar running on the Nürburgring in Germany. Although this could simply be a test of the standard car, the presence of a decal reading “XP2R Prototype Vehicle” hints McLaren could be testing a more powerful P1. Our spy shooter said the car spotted here was running “very quick laps” on the ‘Ring.
The standard McLaren P1 debuted at the Geneva Motor Show with a dramatic wavy design and carbon-fiber monocoque. McLaren claims the myriad wings, flaps, and diffusers add up to 600 pounds of downforce at speed, a record for a production car; there’s even a Formula 1-inspired Drag Reduction System that opens the rear wing for better acceleration. The powertrain is a plug-in hybrid setup composed of a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 and a 120-kW electric motor. Combined output is 903 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque, providing a 0-to-62-mph time below three seconds.
The McLaren P1 can also drive for about six miles on electrical power alone and is said to return fuel economy in the mid-20-mpg range when driven normally. Carbon-ceramic brakes and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission are standard. The McLaren P1 will be limited to just 375 units, and reports suggest fewer than 100 remain unsold so far.
Aside from the aforementioned “XP2R” sticker, there are no obvious signs that the McLaren P1 spotted on the Nürburgring is anything other than a standard car. Its silver bodywork, tall rear wing, black thin-spoke wheels, and carbon-ceramic brakes all look identical to the model we saw at the Geneva show. Nonetheless, it’s possible McLaren is testing a hidden mechanical update — perhaps more power from either the twin-turbo V-8 or the electric motor. If that’s the case, expect official information on the tweaked McLaren P1 to trickle out in due time.