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McLaren fires a shot across the bow of the Ferrari F70

Fri, 10 Aug 2012

McLaren MD Antony Sheriff has declared V12 engines a thing of the past. Just as the new McLaren F1 and Ferrari F70 are about to be revealed.

Seemingly out of the blue, McLaren’s Managing Director, Antony Sherfiff, has declared V12 engines the stuff of automotive history.

“The V12 engine is a thing of the past. The engine belongs in a museum”, said Sheriff in conversation with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf’s Autovisio.

Sheriff went on to say that it’s almost impossible to efficiently develop a V12 engine that meets the needs of customers and government regulation; V12s are too heavy, too big and emit around 30 per cent more CO2 than a similarly powerful blown V8.

But what prompted such a statement, and at this particular juncture?

Perhaps the clue is in the imminent arrival of the new McLaren F1, a hypercar successor to the (V12 powered) McLaren F1 of the 1990s? As we know, the new F1 will get a twin turbo V8 with something around 800bhp and a hybrid KERS boost to take output close to 1,000bhp.

McLaren were planning to reveal the new F1 at Pebble Beach this month, but they’re now rethinking that plan. Why? Hard to say, but perhaps plans by Ferrari to do the same for the new Enzo – the Ferrari F70 – have a lot to do with when the new F1 will get revealed?

The new Ferrari F70 will get a V12, despite Ferrari almost opting for a twin turbo V8 in their new hypercar. And it’s almost certain that the F70 will get a private showing at Pebble and a public debut at Paris. That would pitch both hypercars on the same stage at the same time, ultimately stealing both their thunder and, perhaps, plenty of column inches about the Ferrari being a ‘real’ hypercar with a V12, and the new McLaren F1 nothing but a pretender.

Firing an early salvo at the old-school V12 in the Ferrari is McLaren’s way of paving the way for their sales pitch for the new F1 as a modern hypercar, not an old-fashioned dinosaur like the Ferrari F70.

All will be revealed very soon.


By Cars UK