1997 McLaren MP4/12 Grand Prix racer

This coming Wednesday, McLaren will finally reveal the followup to its legendary F1 road car, but this weekend, in an interview with the Times of London newspaper, Ron Dennis finally announced the car's name. The supercar which until now had been referred to as the P11 will be dubbed the MP4-12C. That designation draws directly on McLaren's formula heritage where the company's racecars have borne the MP4 designation since 1981. Why the road car is named after the relatively unsuccessful 1997 model is not clear at this point, but perhaps we will learn more this week.

Of course, a name in-and-of-itself doesn't have anything to do with how good the car itself might be. Besides the name, Dennis did drop a few other hints about the car. As with the venerable F1, the chassis of the new supercar is to be made of carbon fiber. This time around, the car has gullwing doors and only two seats, rather than the three staggered thrones of the F1. Features like an automatic variable rate suspension likely means the MP4-12C won't be under the 2,400-pound weight of the F1.

In spite of its immense performance, the only 106 F1s were built over six years including the race cars – for the MP4-12C, McLaren is looking to achieve a much more ambitious target: 1,000 units per year.

[Source: The Times of London | Image: Wikimedia Commons - CC 2.0]

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