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Geneva show: McLaren resurrects three seats

Triple treat: If reports are to believed, McLaren is planning to bring back the historic three-occupant cabin, which puts the driver in the ideal central position.

‘Three reasons’ likely to be the return of McLaren three-seater at Geneva: report

21 Jul 2016

A REPORT published yesterday by British publication Autocar appears to be giving context to a comment made to GoAuto by McLaren design director Frank Stephenson last week, which forecasts that the car-maker will unveil a three-seater GT in 2018.

However, in the one-on-one interview on July 15, Mr Stephenson told GoAuto “I would recommend going to Geneva for a few reasons. For three reasons,” which suggests the three seater could debut earlier than the British publication has been led to believe.

If an unveiling is chalked for the next Gevena show, a first look at the company’s three-seat sportscar could be just eight months away, and with the company typically leapfrogging concepts, the vehicle that rolls out is likely to be the production version.

“We don’t really have time to do concept cars,” said Mr Stephenson in the same interview. “We have to do concept cars as production vehicles.” The return of a three-seat cabin would be a direct homage to the iconic McLaren F1 which introduced the unorthodox configuration in 1992, and positioned the driver centrally and further forward than the two passengers aft and at either side.

At the time, GoAuto speculated that the “three reasons” may hint at the reveal of a trio of cars at the show, but even with the extra light now shining on Mr Stephenson’s comment, three cars might still not be out of the question.

The company has already confirmed that a convertible Spider version of the 570S is on its way but has not yet indicated where it will break cover, leaving a spot free on stage next to the enigmatic three-seater.

A third model or concept may seem unlikely and would require an enormous crashing of McLaren resources to get the projects finalised in time, but Mr Stephenson commented on how busy the team has been since the Sports, Super and Ultimate Series cars had started to flow.

“It is the most complete challenge I’ve ever had because with any other car company you already know what the brand looks like, you just have to continue it. To create it from scratch and get it right, not that you’re scared of doing it, you’re just hoping you get it right,” he said.

As one of the largest and most high-profile shows on the automotive calendar, the world’s car brands jostle for attention at Geneva, but it appears McLaren is lining up with an offensive to steal the show.

The Geneva show opens its doors in early March 2017 and GoAuto will bring you all of the action as it happens.

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