Across Europe in the McLaren P1
EXCLUSIVE: Tom Ford blasts from Spa to Britain in the 903bhp hybrid hypercar… and ends up on a closed runway. Oh yes
Posted: 06 Jan 2014
Obviously, I got bored, and played the "what gear will it pull?" game, tried to fox the 'box with hesitant feet and left-foot braking, tried to convince the satnav that we needed to get lost across an Alp before home time. I gazed longingly at the buttons marked IPAS and DRS on the steering wheel. The ones marked LAUNCH and BOOST on the console. Then looked at the weather - which was flickering uncertainly from sun to mist to rain to hail and back to sun like a badly shuffled kinetoscope - and back at my passenger, whose only response was the kind of stare that could strip paint.
Most of northern Europe took a slightly blurry picture. We brought the Channel Tunnel to a near standstill, and yet there was the lingering feeling that I hadn't had the chance to poke even at the outer edges of what the P1 was capable of. Of course, we meandered through B-roads once back in the UK, felt the immediacy of this car's responses threaded through every direction change. We marvelled at the fact that, if anything, it rides better than the 12C. But it's nigh-on irresponsible to give a car like this full attack on a public road, mainly because the approach speeds towards other traffic get properly scary. Think superbike. With better brakes. Which is why, when we pitched up at Lydd Airport in Kent to find the 1,505m runway and side roads at our disposal, I got butterflies. It was sunny, too. And dry. Which meant only one thing: time to poke the animal with a sharp stick, and see what it would do.