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Video on the Latest Development of the New McLaren Super Car the MP4-12C
The latest testing news about the MP4-12C is hitting the net. Is anyone else as excited about new street car as I am? The McLaren F1 is the super car in my mind and now to have McLaren rolling out a new no holds bared super car is a dream come true. I can't wait to see how the new car stacks up to everything else on the market, the F1 and of course the Bugatti Veyron.
Enjoy the info on the latest development from PistonHeads. How excited are you about the New McLaren?
Development of the MP4-12C is entering its final phase, says McLaren, which has just released a new teaser video showing 'works in progress'.
The new high-performance sports car is due to launch in 2011, and the latest Experimental Prototype (XP) 12Cs are undergoing intensive appraisal at a number of test locations around the world - including Spain's Applus IDIADA facility where this movie footage was captured.
The XP Beta cars are also seen in action on public roads in the foothills near Tarragona in a short video McLaren says offers an insight into the testing programme from the perspective of the development team responsible for the 12C.
Featured in the short film are XP8 and XP10, two XP Beta-phase prototypes. Wrapped almost entirely in matt black vinyl, XP Beta cars are clearly discernable from 2009's XP cars, which have been seen sporting black and white camouflage exteriors.
The XP Beta test cars feature significant technological advancements that take the 12C nearer to production, the company says. A revised iteration of the M838T twin-turbo engine, transmission featuring new gear ratios, a more efficient cooling package, new suspension geometry and upgraded electrical architecture are the headline features of current prototypes, denoting key differences between XP and XP Beta cars.
Indicative performance figures generated by the XP Beta cars are expected to be announced in March, but feedback from February's testing suggests McLaren's aspiration to out-perform its competitors is on target, they say.
Mark Vinnels, McLaren Automotive Programme Director, is leading the engineering team. "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," he says.
"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.
"Between now and production the vehicles and the team are working flat out. All this is geared towards not just achieving our unprecedented levels of performance but also guaranteeing the levels of quality, reliability and durability with which we expect to delight future McLaren customers."
While I love my manual to death and loath driving autos the McLaren Pre-Cog system sounds like it could be a lot of fun and introduces a type of complexity that I enjoy about manual driving.
Gears are changed using a Formula 1 style rocker shift that pivots in the centre of the steering wheel. It is actuated on either side of the steering wheel (pulling right changes up, pulling left down).
As with the McLaren Formula 1 car, a shift can be actuated either by pulling or by pushing on the rocker. The rocker moves with the steering wheel, rather than being mounted on the steering column, so that if a gear change is needed while lock is being applied the driver does not have to fumble around to change gear.
The rocker itself incorporates an innovative feature created by McLaren engineers called Pre-Cog. The name stands for pre-cognition, literally ‘foreknowledge’. The rocker on the 12C has two positions with a slightly different haptic (or feel) for each. The driver applies first pressure to the rocker and it informs the gearbox to get ready to swap ratios, thereby saving time – latency – between the message being sent and the gearbox being primed to act. The second pressure confirms that the gear should be changed and the torque handover is completed in milliseconds.
“What Pre-Cog actually does is initiate the shift process by priming the clutch and torque handover – it takes significant time out of the process,” explained Dick Glover, Technical Director McLaren Automotive.
“It’s a little bit like the first pressure on a camera shutter button. There’s no requirement for the driver to use it but it is more satisfying and engaging if you do. The SSG also promotes seamless shifting in which the driver doesn’t have to reduce engine power at all – rather than the gearshift slowing you down, it actually speeds the car up by recovering the energy of the crank spinning as it drops engine speed,” he said.
In practice the latency of the shift is virtually zero, the actual gear change time is very fast and the level of impulse can be varied according to the gearbox mode. Considering that McLaren was the first Formula 1 team to introduce seamless shift gear changes into motor racing, it was a natural step to develop such a bespoke transmission to its sports car project.
__________________ First Drive: 500 miles with the 4 series coupe