As the new McLaren MP4-12c supercar is being prepared for its Paris debut, a few thousand miles away in America engineers are busy doing some final tests. McLaren has dispatched a group of MP4s in deserts of Arizona for extreme weather testing. These prototypes are ladled the VP as in Validation Prototype, the previous batch were the XP cars or the Experimental Prototype.
With temperatures peaking at 46 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit), a 28-strong team of engineers, technicians and vehicle development partners ran two VP cars and one XP car day and night over three weeks on a mixture of driving surfaces between Lake Havasu City – where the team was based – and the town of Flagstaff, further west in Arizona.
The 12C prototypes began testing on a dynamic handling platform and high speed circuit at a proving ground near Yucca, and then completed the programme at high altitude on public roads in Flagstaff.
Tony Joseph, Regional Director for McLaren Automotive North America, said:
“Feedback from prospective customers we received at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance clearly indicates that Americans are keen to see McLaren succeed in this market, so it is vitally important that our development team undertakes test programmes in North America.
“The combination of extreme ambient temperatures in a high altitude environment is perfect for testing components including the 12C’s bespoke heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, which has performed exceptionally well in Arizona. Amassing mileage in these conditions is invaluable in proving the 12C’s new engine, which was equally impressive throughout significant changes in the test environment.”
Andy Beale, a Vehicle Development Engineer working on the programme said: “Between Lake Havasu City and Flagstaff the development team passed through Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Our 12C prototypes received great comments from motorists along the way, relating in particular to the car’s design and its exhaust note.”