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Mystery McLaren Spotted Running the 'Ring

WTF is this?

We're honestly stumped on this one. Spied here at the Nürburgring, it looks like a McLaren 675LT. But it has an interior that looks barely cobbled together, a body kit very similar to the brand's race car, a roof scoop from what appears to be an early 2000s NSX Type-R, an exhaust hanging off-kilter, street rims—no central locking racing lugs here, and a numerical code that reads MV715-23 across its windshield. What is this?

This is as wild a prototype as we've ever seen. We're not convinced this is McLaren's new race car, even though it has quite a lot of racing parts on it, including a full cage and sheetmetal firewall between the rear engine compartment and the driver, as well as all of its aerodynamics. The presence of two seats and noncentral locking hubs almost immediately remove that option. As well as why McLaren would be testing a race car on the street.

What could give us a clue to what truly lies beneath the 675LT bodywork, however, is the roof scoop, the hood-located air intakes, and numerical code adorned on the car's windshield.

As mentioned prior, the code reads MV715-23, and those last two numbers are the important bit. McLaren's upcoming F1 successor is dubbed internally as the BP23, and given that it is supposed to debut within the next year or so, our money is on the idea this car is actually a mule for the upcoming hyper-GT.

The roof scoop and hood intakes also give credence to this being a test bed for the BP23 because McLaren has stated that it will be the most powerful McLaren ever built. And with upwards of 1,000 horsepower on tap thanks in large part to a wholly new hybrid drivetrain coupled to the brand's new 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine. All that power needs cool air, and there are air intakes on the hood that likely cool dual electric motors on the front axle.

This assumption comes on the heels of McLaren's CEO Mike Flewitt telling Car and Driver than any form of all-wheel drive in future McLarens would likely take this setup, because "from an engineering point of view, there's no point bringing a [drive] shaft down the center of the car."

What stops us from saying decisively that this is a BP23 mule is that it only has two seats. As the spiritual successor to the almighty McLaren F1, it needs three abreast seating. However, given that this is likely a development mule, we'd be inclined to say this could be a development mule for the drivetrain and nothing more. We still have two years until the BP23 is supposed to begin deliveries. Why show the public anything until McLaren is truly ready?

For now, all we have are rumors, hypotheses, and good guesses.