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Geneva show: McLaren confirms 3-seater for Aus

106 reasons: McLaren’s three-seater is likely to share much of the P1’s construction and drivetrain. All 106 have already been sold sight unseen.

McLaren Special Operations will fire up again to build the three-seat BP23

17 Nov 2016

UPDATED: 5:20PMBRITISH sportscar builder McLaren has revealed it will build another three-seat supercar after all and a handful will be coming to Australia.

The company has danced around the subject in recent months, but has now confirmed it has given the greenlight to a production run of 106 cars, all of which have been pre-sold, some of them to Australian customers.

While the previous flagship P1 never made it Down Under, McLaren Automotive Asia marketing manager Geoff Tink told GoAuto that the model is being homologated for the Australian market and “a very low number” of the super exclusive cars will be coming Down Under.

While Mr Tink could not confirm exact numbers at this early stage he did say “It will be one of the rarest cars on the road”.

In July, McLaren design director Frank Stephenson sparked speculation about a three-seat successor for the similarly configured F1 when he told GoAuto there would be “three reasons” to attend the Geneva motor show in 2017, but Mr Tink later dismissed the remark as insubstantial.

Speaking to GoAuto again in September, Mr Stephenson confirmed that the company was still not busy with a three-seat model.

“I’m just saying we’re not working on a three-seater at the moment,” he said.

Now, however, McLaren has released a short statement confirming that it will deliver a limited run of 106 cars – dubbed BP23 Hyper-GTs – featuring a hybrid powertrain and a “shrink-wrapped” carbon-fibre body “enabling significant journeys to be undertaken with up to three people aboard”.

Coincidentally or not, the BP23 announcement comes just a day after long-standing McLaren Group CEO and president Ron Dennis was forced out of his influential role by majority stake holders.

Beyond the seating layout, specifics of the BP23 are light on the ground, but the car-maker has confirmed it will have a hybrid powertrain and that the vehicle will be constructed by McLaren Special Operations (MSO).

The special branch of McLaren has been dormant, at least with respect to turning spanners, since the final P1 rolled off the line in December 2015.

It is possible the BP23 will be based on the P1, which also had hybrid power.

Developing an all-new model from the ground up would be prohibitively expensive for a production run of just 106 cars, and sharing a platform and drivetrain with the P1 is a more likely strategy. The P1 run was limited to 375 cars.

Like all McLaren models, the BP23 will have dihedral doors but with power operation – a first for the brand – while switchgear will be tailored for the model, it says.

If it shares many of the mechanical features of the P1 hyper-hybrid, the BP23 will offer a more luxury comfort cruiser option than the track-focused P1, said McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt.

“We are calling BP23 a ‘Hyper-GT’ because it’s a car designed for longer journeys, but with the high levels of performance and driver engagement expected of any McLaren,” he said.

Only a deeply stylised birds-eye image of the car has been released, showing little of the final production model, apart from a seating arrangement that positions the driver centrally and further forward than the two passengers aft and at either side.

The same three-seat layout was pioneered for McLaren by the iconic 1992 F1, which was also limited to a production run of 106 vehicles.

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