McLaren F1 successor prototype caught testing - front three-quarter view

Rumors and conjecture will only get you so far, particularly when we're talking about the stratosphere of supercardom where speculation can disappear back into the ether from whence it came as quickly as it emerged in the first place. What we need to really anticipate the arrival of a new record-breaking hypercar is concrete evidence. And concrete evidence, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is what we have here before us today.

The car we're talking about is the long-awaited successor to the legendary McLaren F1. Considering how thoroughly that bolide smashed all preconceived notions of what a car could do when the original hit the streets in 1992, its successor is something worth anticipating indeed. It's expected to have nearly 700 horsepower on tap, challenge the Bugatti Veyron for straight-line pace and emerge as a de-facto challenger to the Enzo replacement Ferrari is working on.

The styling is expected to take greater advantage of the skills of one Frank Stephenson, father of the modern Mini Cooper, BMW X5, Fiat 500 and countless Ferrari and Maserati models. His arrival at McLaren Automotive is said to have been a little late for him to truly leave his mark on the MP4-12C – its big brother expected to be his first clean-sheet design since moving in at Woking.

From the spy shots, we can see some distinctive common stylistic elements to the existing MP4-12C, tempered with some references to the original McLaren F1 – particularly in the shape of the greenhouse that packs a windshield that looks like it was lifted from a glass-bottom boat. A rooftop hood vent also appears to be popping up through the camouflage, with a giant exhaust pipe protruding high up through the rear (like a Pagani), with what looks like the biggest underbody diffuser we've seen yet.

The overall shape also looks longer than the MP4-12C, presumably to accommodate an engine packing 50% more cylinders than its eight-pot kid brother. With the V12 F1 expected to arrive around the same time as the Ferrari F70, it looks like Maranello and Woking are gearing up for once heck of a high-stakes grudge match.