The Speed thing
Yes, the P1 is deeply, unsettlingly fast. Not in this shot, where it was travelling at about 20mph so young Luke could practice his photography skillz. But this remains a car you have to be very careful with. It’s easy to misjudge the P1 initially because it has light steering and an accurate, almost dainty front end. But when the twin sledgehammers in the engine bay get to work on the 3.8-litre V8, you need to be wary, because dainty is not a word you’d use to describe the back end.
It’s this duality of character between the axles that, for me, makes the P1 so incredibly exciting. There’s a sense that the chassis can only barely cope with the torque torrent that’s deposited on it. And that’s how a hypercar should be, I reckon. For me it’s what made the hypercar battle between this, the Porsche 918 Spyder and LaFerrari so compelling. They’re so different: In the Ferrari you were amazed at how 950bhp was so manageable and usable. It was the most drivable. The Porsche was the most complete all-rounder. And the McLaren? Purely and simply the most exciting to drive.
In the past three years nothing’s changed my opinion on that. The P1 remains a car you have to be careful of, a car that encourages you to keep your foot planted to the redline, to see what you’re made of, but then is so rampant as it heads there that it forces you to chicken out. It goads you, then tests your mettle.