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McLaren MP4-12C (2011): new testing video

Tue, 23 Feb 2010

McLaren has issued this new video of its 2011 MP4-12C in the final phases of testing – and McLaren claims it's faster than the 458 Italia or any Gallardo. Watch the video in our player at the foot of this page.

The matt black vinyl disguise demarks this pair of cars as the latest McLaren 'XP Beta' test cars, compared with the earlier black-and-white 'XP' prototypes spied last year.

'XP Beta' prototypes? All very McLaren!

Quite. These two are called XP8 and XP10, apparently, and they're looked after by a team of 25 engineers in 'a test programme that mirrors the intensity of developing a Formula 1 car', claims McLaren. Expect to hear plenty more of the connection with Lewis and Jenson's company cars.

This video was shot around Spain's Applus ISIADA facility – 'the most comprehensive independent proving ground in Europe,' according to Ron Dennis's crew. The footage shows McLaren engineers testing the 12C and they've apparently upgraded the M838T twin-turbo V8, fitted new gear ratios, uprated the cooling systems and suspension geometry. End result? We'll know the full performance claims for the 12C in mid-March, when McLaren goes public with the latest on its supercar, but Woking already claim it's outperforming every rival.

The engineering boss speaks

Mark Vinnels, McLaren automotive programme director, said: 'There is an extensive list of subjective and objective targets set for our prototype vehicles. These XP Beta cars are already achieving outstanding results in many of the subjective areas, which includes ride quality, handling and many other aspects of dynamic performance. The benchmark competitor vehicles we have tested become nervous and twitchy at higher speed, but the 12C feels more stable than anything I have driven.  Because the bump rejection is so good, the ride is smooth and the steering is solid.'

Well, he would say that, wouldn't he? Guess we'll have to put up with the hyperbole and dripfeed PR spin until we finally drive the car in 2011...

By Tim Pollard