TURN & BURN II VIDEO: McLaren P1

One helluva fast hybrid: Watch the P1 hit 180 mph in only 15.74 seconds!

McLaren P1

Price: $1,207,262

Weight: 3300 lb.

Horsepower: 727 @ 7300 rpm (gasoline), 176 hp (electric)

0–180 mph: 15.74 sec.

Distance to 180 mph: 2635 ft.

When you think of plug-in hybrids, you’re forgiven if the million-dollar P1 doesn’t come to mind. But that’s exactly what this carbon-tub exotic is, powered by a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8 with 727 hp and a 176-horse electric motor. While 903 total ponies can reach the forged rear wheels, the electric motor is used primarily to smooth power delivery by filling in the gaps as we for wait for turbo boost to arrive after each shift.

McLaren P1 and Derek-Hill

Not that this was a concern at Lemoore. Once Hill learned how to properly launch this missile and extract maximum performance out of the car (which, at one point, involved speaking by phone with an engineer at McLaren’s HQ in Woking, England), he got down to work. After putting it in track mode (which lowers the P1 2 inches) and pressing the launch control button, he applied left-foot brake, gave it half-throttle, and then came off the brake while simultaneously giving it full gas the whole way. Hill would upshift the dual-clutch gearbox via paddles while keeping his other hand on the Drag Reduction System button to keep that massive rear wing from deploying into the airflow.

Sound easy? Relatively so, considering all that power. “You could drive this thing to work every day,” remarked Hill, who, at 6-foot-2, said he fit well in the P1. That’s a lot of power going to just two wheels, and on each run the traction control managed grip so beautifully that the P1 shot down the strip as if flung by some massive sling. Hill thought he was faster shifting the P1 manually, closer to redline, but the best results were actually achieved in automatic mode, with shifts occurring in rapid-fire succession.

McLaren P1 static overhead

And what were the best numbers? Try 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, followed by the quarter in 10.35 seconds at 149.70 mph and 180 mph in 15.74 seconds. This was our quickest blast of the day, which culminated with a peak velocity of 206.5 mph. Main message here: The P1 hit 180 a quarter second more quickly than our fastest bikes, the BMW S1000RR and Kawasaki H2, and it did so in 107 and 224 fewer feet, respectively.

Impressive, for sure, but rather than making superbikes look bad, this million-dollar Brit underscores the huge bang-for-the-buck advantage that motorcycles maintain over cars. And not just over pricey exotics such as the P1 (whose Volcano Orange paint is a $10,850 option!) but also over supercar bargains such as the Z06 Corvette.

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Action.

McLaren P1 at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Barry Hathaway

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Derek Hill at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Barry Hathaway

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Derek Hill at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Barry Hathaway

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McLaren P1 at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Barry Hathaway

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McLaren P1 at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Barry Hathaway

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McLaren P1 at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Barry Hathaway

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McLaren P1 at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Jeff Allen

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McLaren P1 at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Barry Hathaway

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McLaren P1 at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Barry Hathaway

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Derek Hill at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Barry Hathaway

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McLaren P1 at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Jeff Allen

Details.

McLaren P1 at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Jeff Allen

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McLaren P1 and BMW S1000RR at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Barry Hathaway

Action combo #2

McLaren P1 and Kawasaki Ninja H2 at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Barry Hathaway

Action combo #3

BMW S1000RR and McLaren P1 at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Barry Hathaway

Static combo.

Kawasaki Ninja H2 and McLaren P1 at our 0-180 MPH Ultimate Performance Shootout.Jeff Allen