Tag Archives: MP4-12C

A Supercar Rental for an F1 Grand Prix Weekend

When the Grand Prix rolls through Circuit of The Americas there won’t be a bigger stage in a bigger state for well-heeled Formula 1 fans around the world to make their entrance – Texas style.

For the lucky few, a Grand Prix weekend will include all the trimmings and that means everything from the best seats at the race to the best seats to the race, and for this demand, there’s one rental brand Americans are familiar with that’s meeting it … abroad, anyway.

Hertz UK has announced they’ve added the latest Formula 1 inspired car from McLaren Automotive to their lineup at selected locations in the Commonwealth:  The MP4-12C.

 

Now available to rent from Hertz (UK)

 

Michel Taride, President, Hertz International and Executive Vice-President, Hertz Corporation, said:

“Hertz aspires to offer truly innovative rental experiences to our customers, and the spell-binding McLaren MP4-12C provides an opportunity of a lifetime to experience Formula 1 race-bred technologies on the road.”

Yes, that yellow (ahem, Gold) license plate looks familiar, and in more than one way the numbers are impressive: 0-62 in 3.3 seconds will run you rates starting at £1134.30 (~$1800) for a single day mid-week and range to £906.30 (~$1400) per day for rentals lasting over 28 days.

Stateside, the MP4-12C starts at around $229,000 and the first customer cars were shipped to dealers earlier this year.  America is an important market for McLaren, and their celebrated return to full production road cars brings a brand known for exclusivity and performance to a much wider audience than it’s legendary predecessor, the F1.

It’s not impossible to imagine a supercar like the MP4-12C available from Hertz especially around an F1 based marketing drive, but typically the American supercar rental market is addressed by smaller niche operations and clubs catering to customers and members through automotive timeshares and exclusive pricing.  In this case, Hertz UK has partnered with Premiere Velocity, a smaller luxury car rental firm based in London.

Could such a car be offered in Austin from Hertz, Avis or, Dollar Rental?  It will be interesting to see if there’s an effort to meet the opportunity.  Imagine a Bentley airport shuttle to whisk you from your airline (or airplane)  to your supercar rental – it sure sounds like a nice way to transport your luggage.

 

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Filed under American F1 Events, brand strategy in F1, Circuit of the Americas, F1 and business, Formula 1 New Jersey, GP of America, Uncategorized, United States Grand Prix in Austin

First Look: McLaren MP4-12C

While McLaren has been competing around the world in Formula 1, they’ve been growing into a group of companies involved in and around racing of all types, developing processes and technologies that have been embodied in their latest creation, the MP4-12C.  A long awaited sequel to their F1 road car, this McLaren comes at the conclusion of a long relationship with Mercedes as a development and assembly partner on their SLR road cars.  I recently had a chance to meet McLaren’s North American team in the process of opening 10 US dealerships, and learn more about the car that will be reintroducing a brand known for pushing automotive technology to the limit.

Carbon Fiber monocell tub with aluminum front/rear subframes

The first thing you should know about the car is that it is different – from everything else before it.  Everything on the MP4-12C has been designed and developed by McLaren:  From heater vents to headlamps, every part has been designed and built especially by and for McLaren Automotive.  Considered the ‘middle sibling’ of two other cars due out in the coming years, this is the first of these new McLarens to be released, and the numbers are impressive.

Cruise stalk detail on the 100% McLaren-designed car

A 3.8 liter twin-turbo V8 produces 592 bhp and 443 ft lb of torque, 80% of which is available at 2,000 rpm.  A seven-speed seamless shift dual-clutch gearbox and best-of performance in emissions gives this car claim to the highest horsepower to CO2 emission ratio of any other internal combustion engine car. ‘Brake steer’, developed on McLaren’s Formula 1 cars, limits the degree to which the inner rear wheel spins under light cornering load.

Lightness and function abounds

Given what it takes to develop a modern day Formula 1 racing car, it’s not surprising that McLaren Automotive has also paid the same attention to detail to the MP4-12C by using a lighter Lithium Ion battery, carbon fiber monocell structure, aluminum front and rear sub-frames, and SMC (sheet molded compounds) on most body panels to reduce the weight of the car to 2,866 pounds.  “Accessible Performance” is used to describe the goal for the car, and while enthusiasts may appreciate the rear airbrake, active suspension and lightweight package, the car’s interior and driver visibility make for a livable performance car on a daily drive.  Headroom wasn’t a problem for me at 6’4”, and low front end bodywork along with a driver friendly display and gauge layout made visibility easier.

Front end visibility and simplicity on the display

That said, track days are certainly part of MP4-12C’s repertoire with front and rear facing onboard cameras, data acquisition and adjustable suspension for documenting and shaving tenths off fast laps.  Various add-ons are available to suit buyers’ preferences through the optional ‘IRIS’ system, which includes an integrated PC with an 80G drive on the options list.  Sat-nav and wireless LAN connection will put you on a map, update your email inbox, and upload your hot laps while you’re smoothing out the kinks on the Corkscrew.

Front and rear onboard camera to capture your track day highlights

No, these options weren’t available on the original F1, but they do make for an interesting update from a manufacturer that set the standard for supercar performance over a decade ago.   The MP4-12C marks a significant return for McLaren, and the automotive world is looking forward to seeing more from them in the new year.

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Filed under F1 and branding, F1 and business, F1 and technology, F1 in America