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McLaren P1 (2013) first look inside Britain's new supercar

By Ollie Kew

First Official Pictures

12 February 2013 13:30

McLaren’s latest update on the P1 supercar reveals the supercar's carbonfibre interior for the first time.

We’ll see the production-ready P1 at the Geneva motor show on 5 March 2013, but in the meantime CAR also has the best-yet spy shots of the P1 testing in Spain, with the first glimpses of its finished interior architecture.

Talk me through McLaren’s latest P1 release

The latest update from Woking shows the P1's cabin, visible past a set of butterfly doors that ape its famous McLaren F1 predecessor. The 'shrink-wrapped' design is inspired by a fighter jet cockpit, according to McLaren, and keeps switchgear to a bare minimum. Despite the spartan look McLaren says climate-control, sat-nav and a bespoke audio system are all fitted as standard.

McLaren has gone to town on the attention to detail. Not only is almost everything you touch carbonfibre (the centre console is a single piece of the black weave stuff) but the P1 does without the top layer of resin to save 1.5kg of weight. No soundproofing material is fitted, and though you can spec carpets, even they are made from a specially lightened material. We bet Ron and the team would rather you just wiped your feet before you climbed inside...

The two seats are barely padded carbon-shelled buckets, weighing 10.5kg each, and mated to lightweight mounts. The seats are fixed at a 28-degree angle, but McLaren can adjust that to 32-degrees, to better accomodate helmet-wearing track day enthusiasts. Six-point harnesses are optional, and each P1 will have its seating position tailored to its owner's specific measurements.

The steering wheel uses racing inspiration too. Made from carbonfibre (of course) and Alcantara, it's exactly the same width as the steering wheel in Jenson Button's Formula 1 race car, and is backed by carbonfibre gearshift paddles.

We've seen the digital instruments before: the screen displays your speed, a horizontal engine rev readout, plus which mode you’re in for both the car’s handling and powertrain choices. Select ‘Race’ mode and the screen shows a bank of rev lights across the top, which illuminate green, followed by red and finally blue – this mirrors the gearshift indicator lights found on the steering wheels of modern F1 cars. Meanwhile, Race mode also deploys the monster rear wing, and angles it for optimum on-track downforce. Scroll down for the official McLaren video of how Race mode looks in action.

What can you tell me about the McLaren P1’s interior?

Our latest spy shots of the super-Mac give the first glimpses into the cabin of the XP prototypes, with a few interesting details clearly on show. Prominent on the front of the dashboard is a large scalloped area, behind the instrument binnacle. There appears to be no projector equipment inset, ruling this out as part of an elaborate head-up display system. Surely it’s not a concession to poor luggage space, so perhaps it’s a weight-saving move? It’d certainly fit in with McLaren’s fanatical attention to detail that even sees the Woking outfit engrave (rather than emboss) their logo on components to save grams.

There’s roof detail on show here too. The tops of the upward-opening butterfly doors are glass, while the centre of the roof is dominated by the McLaren F1-style snorkel intake.

Now watch the latest McLaren P1 video, showing Race mode’s party tricks…