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McLaren Automotive (previously McLaren Cars) is an English automaker, based in Woking, Surrey, established in 1989 with the object of producing road cars based on Formula One technology. It works closely with the Team McLaren Formula One constructor and is part of the McLaren Group.
The company's first car was the McLaren F1, a sports car and also a supercar priced at £640,000 (approx. US$ 1,150,000). The F1 was a three seat coupe with the driver situated in the middle of the car. The car was designed by Gordon Murray who also designed some very competitive formula one racecars for McLaren. The 6064 cc V12 engine, which produces 627 bhp (468 kW/636 PS), was designed and built by BMW.
Production of the original F1 began in 1992. The LM model was then introduced in 1995 and the GT model, in 1997. The GTR was built from 1995 through 1997. Production of the McLaren F1 drew to a close in May 1998, with a total production of 100 cars. Variants produced were 64 F1 (street car), 5 LM, 3 GT, 9 GTR95, 9 GTR96 and 10 GTR97.
The McLaren F1 GTR was developed from the F1 road car, and proved highly effective in the four hour GT races in 1995, its first season of racing. Le Mans 24 Hours that year was to be McLaren’s first attempt at the world’s most prestigious endurance race.
McLaren decided to update the 001 chassis–the original test car–and enter it to augment the five customer cars that had been running all season. It was this car, piloted by former Formula 1 racers JJ Lehto and Yannick Dalmas and experienced Japanese driver Masanori Sekiya that took the chequered flag after a race full of drama.
McLaren F1 GTRs finished 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th, not only winning the race at its first attempt, but totally dominating this most gruelling of events.
The F1 previously held the record for the fastest production car ever made, with an independently measured top speed of 241.35 mph (391 km/h). It has a 0-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds. This has been bettered by the Koenigsegg CCR, Bugatti Veyron 16.4 and the SSC Ultimate Aero TT. However, the F1 is naturally aspirated while the CCR, Veyron and SSC Aero are turbocharged.
McLaren Mercedes MP4/98T
Launched in Australia at the beginning of the 1998 Grand Prix season, the West McLaren Mercedes MP4/98T was the world´s first tandem Formula One car.  The unique race car was designed by Gordon Murray to mirror the performance of then contemporary Grand Prix grid and allows a passenger, seated directly behind the driver, to experience the power and exhilaration of a Formula One car. Safety and comfort were fundamental to the design criteria, based on the forces experienced in a Formula One car.
Incorporating many of the F.I.A. driver/passenger safety regulations, the MP4/98T has increased side-impact absorption to safeguard the passenger. Each passenger was seat-fitted using techniques prevalent in Formula One. This specialist foam seating is fitted into the carbon fibre monocoque. A six-point F1 harness seat belt system further insures the safety of the passenger. A carbon fibre honeycomb composite structure, faced with 75 mm (3.0 in) of conforfoam padding separates the driver and passenger helmet area. Specified according to the F.I.A. impact absorption regulations, this conforfoam design is duplicated on the rear of the headrest structure to protect the passenger in the event of a frontal impact. Together with the head restraint they provide rearward and frontal impact absorption for the driver/passenger configuration. A passenger/driver alert button completes the safety elements.
- Year: 1998
- Model Designation: McLaren Mercedes MP4/98T
- Chassis: McLaren carbon fibre monocoque
- Engine: Mercedes-Benz Ilmor FO110G 3.0 litre V10
- Gearbox: McLaren six speed semi-automatic
- Electronics: TAG Electronics Wheels: Enkei
- Tyres: Bridgestone
- Dampers: Penske
- Brakes: AP Racing
- Clutch: Sachs
- Fuels & Oils: Mobil 1
- Adhesives: Loctite
- Radios: Kenwood
Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (codename P7)
In 1999, McLaren agreed to design and manufacture the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren in conjunction with DaimlerChrysler. DaimlerChrysler is the majority shareholder of the McLaren Group as well as engine supplier to the Team McLaren racing team through its Mercedes-Benz division. The final stages of production of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren take place at a unique assembly facility at the McLaren Technology Centre.
The SLR has a 5.5 Liter Supercharged V8 engine that produces 617 bhp (460 kW). It can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.8 sec. and a 0-100 in 6.3 sec.
In 2006, the Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR 722 Edition was announced. The "722 Edition" creates 650 bhp (480 kW/660 PS), with a top speed of 340 km/h (6 more than the standard SLR). A new suspension is used with 19-inch light-alloy wheels, a stiffer damper configuration and 0.4 inches (10 mm) lower body.
In 2007, the Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR Convertible was announced, due to be available from late 2007. The car will use the same supercharged 5.5 liter V8 that is in the coupé.
Aborted projects (codenames P8, P9 and P10)
The partnership between Mercedes-Benz and McLaren resulted three further cars being proposed. The P9 was to be a mid-engined baby supercar with a less expensive model, the P8 or "SLS", competing with cars such as the Ferrari F430, the Bentley Continental GT and the Aston Martin DB9. Both cars were to be powered by naturally aspirated V-8 engines. The P10 would have been an SLR replacement.
All three cars were aborted in 2005, with Mercedes rumored to have considered the projects simply too costly to turn into a solid business case.
McLaren MP4-12C (Codename P11)
On September 8 2009, McLaren released images and details of its long-speculated 458 Italia and Gallardo competitor, the MP4-12C, which was previously codenamed P11. On hand the estimated $200,000 to $280,000 USD supercar is a 3.8 litre twin-turbo V8 producing 600 hp and 433 lb-ft of torque, 80% of which is available from 2,000 rpm. Mated to McLaren's 7-speed Seamless Shift dual clutch gearbox (SSG), it is expected the car will accelerate to 60 mph in "the three-point-something-second" range with a top speed over 200 mph while returning a CO2 output somewhere just south of 300g/km.
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