Check out the amazing McLaren P1 XP2R, the Experimental Prototype 2
Much has been written about the Nürburgring-Nordschleife since it was first raced. The fabled 20.83-kilometer circuit snakes its way through Germany’s Eifel Forest, and it has regularly bitten amateurs and professionals alike, who have tried to tame it, pushing for that extra tenth of a second. Bergwerk, Fuchsröhre, Schwedenkreuz, and Flugplatz are just a handful of more than 150 corners that drivers face as they head off from the starting gantry, with an exclusive club waiting for a select few.
The first of the so-called ‘holy trinity’, the McLaren P1 holds several impressive accolades to its name. Underlining the sheer performance and ability of the limited-run hypercar, ‘Mr McLaren’ Ron Dennis announced at its launch in 2013, that entry into the sub-7 minute club was a prerequisite to signing off the performance of the car; designed to be ‘the fastest car on road and track’. Bold words, especially against some very stiff competition at the time from Maranello and Stuttgart. However, on just 10 months later, McLaren confirmed that its attempt at membership had been successful. The car that achieved the milestone was one of the firm’s prototypes, P1-’XP2R’, and the achievement was simply a part of the performance benchmarking. No more specifics were confirmed, other than to acknowledge that the task – along with all the other performance objectives in the development program – had been completed. And then the internet forums erupted.
Now, a decade on from the announcement by McLaren Automotive, the era-defining prototype, XP2R, has come out from under the covers of a private collection, entrusted to the team at Sub7 Collection. Named after the automotive industry’s most prestigious club, Sub7 Collection manages and sources some of the world’s most exclusive cars on behalf of clients. Through dedicated management of private vehicle collections, to the sourcing and step-by-step support for sales or purchases of high value, premium super and hypercars, Sub7 Collection will work with clients looking to acquire individual vehicles, through to building and maintaining bespoke collections. Sub7 Collection is spearheaded by Jamie Weir who, among his extensive experience in the prestige and exclusive automotive markets, played a major role in the customer management of the McLaren P1 program during his time with the brand.
As the perfect poster car for the launch of Sub7 Collection, the McLaren P1 was one of the founding fathers of the exclusive sub-7-minute members club. Widely considered the highlight of McLaren Automotive’s modern-day projects, the model was limited to just 375 production models, supported by a small number of testing and validation prototypes. Following the conclusion of this production run, selected clients were offered the opportunity to acquire a very small number of special vehicles which had played a major role in the development process.
XP2R, or eXperimental Prototype 2 as it started off, was one of the first development mules in the groundbreaking project. Initially running in the racetrack camouflage prior to the public unveiling, XP2R carried out extensive testing including vMax attempts, tire testing with Pirelli, braking system sign-off with Akebono, active aerodynamics, Race Mode, and damper tuning. It received its fully painted bodywork in June 2013, as the program became more public, appearing once again at the Nürburgring as it worked through the final development program stages, aiming towards the lap time attempt.
As genuine racecars have become more appealing in recent years, particularly when they offer bona fide racing provenance, XP2R presents as one of the most unique and talked about histories of a specific road car in recent years. Fully recommissioned at the end of its ‘working life’ by McLaren Automotive, it is exactly as it completed its demanding development program – finished in stunning Supernova Silver metallic bodywork, with stealth wheels – and still wears its ‘prototype vehicle’ monikers. XP2R is now held with an extensive set of spares, including a second set of carbon fiber bodywork. With these spare parts and bodywork, a complete silhouette vehicle has been created, which sits alongside the car in the owner’s private collection. This second model is all but identical to the original prototype, although showing the different colored brake calipers that were worn during the development program.
So, what does it take to achieve sub-7 status? The unique challenge of the Nordschleife, or ‘North Loop’, means that the car must travel at an average speed in excess of 111mph. As an average. No mean feat, especially when you remember some of the tighter and twisty corners scrub speed down to double digits, severely impacting the average. To complete the task requires ultimate commitment and trust in the car by the driver throughout the whole lap.