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by Tim Beissmann

Formula One superstars Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are set to play a role in finetuning McLaren’s all-new MP4-12C supercar as it heads into the development team’s final series of testing.

The 2008 and 2009 F1 world champions got behind the wheels of Beta cars XP8 and XP10 at the UK’s Goodwood Motor Circuit earlier this month, edging testing of the 12C prototypes close to the one million miles mark.

Since 2007, more than 50 engineers have worked on around 40 development cars across 100 degrees of temperature – from -50oC in the Arctic to in excess of 50oC through Bahraini dust storms.

After his test run, Hamilton said the 12C was a true driver’s car that delivered on his expectations.

“The visibility is great from the driver’s seat. You really appreciate that in tight corners. I loved the McLaren F1 when I drove it and, like that car, the huge front windscreen of the 12C allows you to take in all the information needed for perfect lines through apex turns.

“If the 12C team say they are aiming to make the best performance car on the market, then I’m convinced that is what they will do,” he said.

Button was equally impressed with the low and high speed performance of the McLaren.

“Within just a few seconds, I felt really comfortable with the car – and after only a couple of laps I was able to begin to push it hard through the corners. Yet, even though I was pushing, I was amazed by the car’s great stability at high speeds.

“It’s very quick in a straight line, too. In fact, the biggest problem with driving this car on a circuit is that sometimes you forget it’s a road car,” Button said.

But just how quick the all-new McLaren MP4-12C will be is information the supercar manufacturer is content to drip-feed to the automotive world.

We know that 0-200km/h comes up in under 10 seconds, while the quarter mile is achieved in around 11 seconds.

Going the other way, braking from 200-0km/h happens in less than 5 seconds, and 100-0km/h in the space of 3 seconds and 30m – or less than seven car lengths.

Dry weight has been kept close to 1300kg thanks mostly to the one-piece moulded carbon-fibre chassis, as well as the lithium-ion battery, small twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre engine, rear-mounted engine-cooling radiators and standard forged aluminium/cast iron brakes.




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