McLaren celebrated its 50th anniversary by tackling the final development objective for its sold-out P1 supercar - a sub-seven minute lap of the N?rburgring.

From the outset, the car has been developed with one clear goal: to be the best driver's car on both road and track. To achieve this, the development programme has focused on ensuring the P1 pushes the boundaries in terms of sheer performance, with testing carried out in some of the harshest conditions around the world. But one challenge remained, and that was arguably the toughest of them all.

A distance of 20.8km driven at an average speed in excess of 178km/h. Sounds easy, until you add in more than 150 corners, 300 metres of elevation changes and cornering forces of up to 2g. And all in less than seven minutes....

The N?rburgring-Nordschleife is widely acclaimed as the toughest test track to measure the all-round performance of any car. And among the McLaren's performance targets, which included accelerating to 300kph in less than 17 seconds, and onto a limited top speed of 350kph, was to achieve a sub-seven minute time around the German circuit.

That would be no mean feat for a stripped out, track-focused, racing car, let alone a production car on standard road tyres which offers superior levels of ride comfort and all round ability on road.

The ground-breaking P1 is equipped with a dual powerplant drivetrain generating 903 bhp. A highly efficient 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 petrol engine produces 727 bhp, which is coupled to a 176 bhp lightweight electric motor to offer optimised performance. The efficient drivetrain offers instant torque and throttle response, with performance figures to match - 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.8 seconds, 0-200 km/h (124 mph) in 6.8 seconds and 0-300 km/h (186 mph) in 16.5 seconds.

The combination of optimised aerodynamics, cutting-edge bespoke systems developed with technical partners and never-before-used technologies, have ensured that the P1 has achieved, and in many cases exceeded, all objectives during development. It is the culmination of five decades of race-winning knowledge and expertise which has been transferred to the track with the motivating factors that have driven the McLaren name to be one of the most successful in motorsport - belief and a desire to achieve.

"This final challenge for the McLaren P1 was very publicly set out earlier this year, and the result is true testament to the team in Woking, not only in terms of what has been achieved in Germany, but in what has been achieved with this project," Mike Flewitt, CEOf of McLaren Automotive explained, "The McLaren P1 is a technical tour de force, and is truly a car that we at McLaren are very proud of. The desire to push the envelope of performance, and achieve the sub-seven minute lap time, shows the spirit of Bruce McLaren lives in the company 50 years on.

"The N?rburgring is one of the most daunting and challenging stretches of road anywhere in the world, and is the perfect final test for the McLaren P1, as it brings together all of the elements of the development programme we have worked through, and subjects the systems and technologies to the ultimate seven minute punishment.

'We set a series of challenging targets throughout the development of the McLaren P1, with the most significant one being the fact that the car would be the best driver's car on both road and track. I am extremely proud of the fact that we have achieved everything we originally set out to do, and in such a convincing manner."

McLaren F1 driver Jenson Button admitted that he had been wowed by news of the P1's performance.

"The fact that the P1 has posted a sub-seven-minute lap at the N?rburgring is unbelievably impressive," the Briton commented, "I've been an F1 driver for 14 years, and I've driven more than 240 grands prix and, although I've never raced an F1 car on the N?rburgring-Nordschleife circuit - because the last time the German Grand Prix was held there was before I was born - I know exactly how challenging, and daunting, a racetrack it is.

"Over the past dozen-or-so years I've owned a lot of ultra-high-performance road cars. I've driven the McLaren P1 on a number of occasions - including up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it was sensational - and I think it's a truly superb machine: unbelievably refined yet unbelievably quick.

"But, as I say, for it to have recorded a sub-seven minute lap time around the N?rburgring is the icing on the cake: proof positive, backed by hard data, on the greatest racetrack of them all, that McLaren has created a genuine game-changer."


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