Published on September 29th, 2017 | by Seán Ward0
McLaren’s BP23 Will Be Something Very Special
A quick glance at the 720S you see pictured here and you might miss the elephant in the room, but look beyond the camouflage, beyond the familiar 720S bodywork, and you’ll spot McLaren Automotive’s chief test driver Chris Goodwin is seated centrally. Anyone familiar with McLaren’s history will know this is quite a big deal.
This 720S is a prototype for the upcoming McLaren ‘BP23′, BP standing for ‘Bespoke’, P2 for ‘Project 2′, and 3 for ‘three seats’. Despite the fact the driver’s seat will be positioned centrally as it was in the McLaren F1, this will not be an all-out sports car but instead a very fast, very capable hyper-GT car, and one that will act as a testbed for other future technologies, including digital mirrors.
McLaren is promising blistering performance, however, and perhaps more than you’d expect for a car hailed as a GT. In fact, this “will be the most powerful and most aerodynamic road-going McLaren ever produced” when deliveries start in late-2019. For reference, the most powerful McLaren to date is the 986bhp P1 GTR…
Chatting to Automotive News Europe at the Geneva Motor Show in March, the company’s CEO Mike Flewitt said the response to the idea of a three-seat McLaren among current Ultimate Series owners was huge: “we were absolutely inundated with applications. I had to find polite ways to say no.”
So why is the first mule a 720S? Andy Palmer, McLaren’s vehicle line director for Ultimate Series cars, explained it to TopGear: “We’ve done a lot of work around CAD and ergonomics before we even think about building a prototype. At this stage essentially we’re looking at ergonomics, layout of controls, visibility, access, packaging, the rear view mirrors, but also where you put the vents, what storage we can have and so on.”
Seeing as it’s only been five years since the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari launched in sync, it’s highly unlikely the BP23 will be one third of a new trio of hypercars. Instead, the BP23 is just one of the 15 new models McLaren promised to launch by 2022.
Just 106 will be built, and unfortunately they’ve all be sold. Regardless, this is a very different, very exciting new model for McLaren.