A forum post on McLaren Life suggests that the McLaren MP4-12C lapped the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold Aerodrome in a staggering 1 minute 14.118 seconds: a second faster than the record-holding Ariel Atom 500 V8 track car. Skeptical? So are we.
The poster claims to have received this information from a McLaren dealership in London, but it certainly doesn’t sound very reliable.
It gets even more interesting however. 1:14.118 is claimed to be the time for the standard, 1336 kg MP4-12C without Pirelli Corsa tires. Add a lightweight package stripping out 35 kilos and a set of Pirelli Corsa tires, and that time supposedly becomes 1:12.915. A previously unheard of GT variant gets you around in 1:11.409, and another mystery GTR version is estimated to lap the track in less than 1 minute and 9 seconds. Meanwhile, dropping the top with the Spider version is said to slow you down by no more than 0.5 seconds.
While these figures are staggering, the chances of them being true are near nil. Just look at the numbers. The MP4-12C has a 600 horsepower V8 powerplant, and weighs 1,336 kilograms, while the Atom V8 is powered by a 500 horsepower V8 with a weight of just 500 kilograms. This results in power-to-weight ratios of 450 horsepower and 1,000 horsepower per tonne respectively. That’s hardly an insignificant difference, and results in 0 to 100 kph in 3 seconds for the McLaren, and as little as 2.3 seconds in the Atom. Now this is not to say the McLaren is a bad car, it’s absolutly brilliant. But can it really beat a stripped-out, track-focused, V8-powered monster with no roof, no air-conditioning and no doors at its own game? We doubt it.