McLaren F1 successor begins testing

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With the MP4-12C hitting a rapidly expanding chain of dealerships around the world, McLaren Automotive is moving on to its next project: developing a successor to the iconic McLaren F1. In fact, reports from the UK indicate that testing of the first prototypes is already underway in locations like Spain, Bahrain and Germany.

Dubbed Mega Mac, the top-of-the-line hypercar aims to outpace the creme-de-la-creme of performance exotics hitting the road, including the Bugatti Veyron, Pagani Huayra and the upcoming Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari Enzo successor. To get there, we're looking at a powertrain consisting of a 799-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 developed (like the MP4-12C's engine) with Ricardo and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox (again, like the 12C's) developed with Graziano.

Reports anticipate a 2.8-second dash to 60 mph, but we wouldn't be surprised to see it shave even a few tenths off that, as well. A carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, F1-style pushrod suspension and all of the (hopefully defeatable) electronic aids are also said to be part of the package, along with onboard telematics and a video camera for recording hot laps.

When we spoke with McLaren's design director Frank Stephenson at the Frankfurt Motor Show, we were told to expect a radically different design than the 12C, and sources already indicate this new flagship will offer exemplary visibility. We'll have to wait to see if the car revives its predecessor's trademark 1+2 seating arrangement with a central driving position, but with a launch not expected until 2014, we may have to wait awhile.

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