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GP Week : Issue 74
13 F1 NEWS >> McLAREN may have been trounced by Ferrari by some 23 seconds on-track in Bahrain last weekend, but they have now launched their own road-going supercar to rival Ferrari's impressive fleet of high-performance machines. The mid-engined two-seater MP4-12C is the first in a range of supercars to be built by McLaren Automotive, the F1 team's road car division, designed and developed with the help of the team's extensive racing knowledge. For the first time in a road car the chassis consists of a single carbon fibre shell, saving weight and adding performance, almost 20 years on from McLaren's pioneering use of carbon fibre to construct a Formula One monocoque. McLaren's in- depth knowledge of aerodynamics defined the design of the car's bodywork, which adds downforce, helps cooling and improves handling. The 12C has also given McLaren a use for its innovative 'Brake Steer' system, developed for F1 in 1997 before being promptly banned at the end of the season. The system helps dial out understeer on corner entry and improves traction on exit by applying the inside rear brake when necessary. At the heart of the car is the McLaren-badged M838T engine, so-called for its 3.8 litre V8 twin-turbocharged configuration. Delivering an impressive 600bhp through its F1-inspired seamless shift gearbox, the 12C accelerates from 0 to 200km/h in under 10 seconds, while it can brake from 100 km/h to standstill in just 30 metres. Priced at £150,000 (US$225,000), the MP4-12C goes on sale through a dedicated, worldwide retailer network in 2011. McLaren takes the ght to Ferrari ... ... on the road