McLaren MP4-12C at company unveiling – Click above for high-res image gallery

Early this morning, at least in the U.S., McLaren Automotive had a coming out party in its home town of Woking, England. We were there in person and witnessed the unveiling of not only a new sports car company, McLaren Automotive, but also its flagship product: The MP4-12C. This will be the first of an entire range of new McLaren sports cars, and the company best know for its exploits on the F1 race circuit appears to have built a doozy of a supercar to kick things off.

McLaren F1 drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were on hand at McLaren's technology center to pull back the sheet on the MP4-12C. The rear-wheel-drive supercar features a mid-mounted 3.8-liter V8 producing 600 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque with an 8,000-rpm redline. Comparisons with the legendary McLaren F1 will no doubt be made, but no performance numbers are available for the MP4-12C yet and, we suspect, their missions in life are not exactly the same. The MP4-12C appears to be a supercar you could live with on a daily basis, more like a Gallardo than a Murciélago (though we suspect it might leave both in the dust).

Since we were there, we also meandered about McLaren's facilities and captured stills of a bare MP4-12C chassis, rolling bodies on the assembly line, the XP11 prototype that was used for testing and various historical McLaren automobiles that were hanging out in the lobby. Check out the virtual tour of today's big event in the high-res image gallery below.

Photos by Vlad Savov / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

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