McLaren Automotive has unveiled the MP4-12C, a mid-engined sportscar that collects the heritage of the F1 supercar launched in 1993. It features a carbon fiber MonoCell structure and is powered by a 3.8 liter V8 engine with 600 hp. The design team was led by Frank Stephenson.
The McLaren MP4-12C design follows similar principles to McLaren’s Formula 1 cars, and the McLaren F1, where everything is for a reason .
Overall, the 12C is lower, shorter and narrower than key competitors, but has much shorter front and rear overhangs due to its longer wheelbase – a layout that promotes stability and assists handling response.
The 12C’s body has been styled to support sector-leading levels of downforce; downforce that then subsequently contributes to sector-leading levels of lateral grip and stability. Air flow has been manically managed to support all performance figures and light weight targets.
For example, placing the radiators adjacent to the engine keeps the car narrow and reduces weight. However, this results in a huge challenge of ensuring ample air flow to the radiators.
As a result, the large side air scoops and integrated turning vanes that are dramatic, but purely functional. No larger or smaller than required.
The designer’s challenge is to then take that styling purpose driven by engineering aspirations and add personality. That’s why the air scoops resemble the McLaren logo in form, as do other features around the car.
Just two ‘pure’ lines flow round the car and, when combined with the integration of several dramatic convex and concave surfaces, present a car that looks compact, low and well proportioned.
Externally, the car had to be compact, yet internally it had to offer an unparalleled driver and passenger environment where comfort and driving enjoyment at all levels were not compromised.
(Car Body Design's news)