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TOV Forums > General Talk > > Re: Drove my first McLaren today....

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notyper
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Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-10-2019 20:57
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I'm trying to gradually retarget my tuning business at higher end vehicles with a more worldwide reach as the EPA (and CARB) continue to tighten the noose on the automotive aftermarket in the US (also doing more offroad stuff, but I expect EPA and especially CARB to come for that hard in a few more years too).

As such, I'm spending more time (and money) developing offerings for high end German turbo luxury cars as well as various exotics. There are already quite a few players in these markets, but the level of development is very, shall we say, suspect?

Pretty much all of these vehicles use some form of Bosch ECU, with Seimens and now Continental starting to make some inroads. So if you have the ability to get into one car, you can get into all of them.

Anyways, one of my good customers brought over a McLaren MP12-4C today for us to begin development on. Being McLaren's first offering it has its warts (and McLaren's in general have some genetic flaws that they can't seem to get rid of), but its still a beautiful car, and it produced an easy 500 whp completely stock, which at 3200 lbs is a lot of go (compare that to about 500 whp for an NSX with full charge but a 3900 lbs weight).

I was invited to drive it for a few miles to get a feel for the vehicle since we're going to be trying to improve the power quite a bit in stages. The engine delivery is very linear. A bit soft below 3000 rpm, but then from 3k-7k just a linear, ever increasing swell of power. You can rev it out to 8k, and you will be faster for it in most situations, but it feels natural, and quite fast shifting at 7k. I suspect we're going to gain a lot more torque than hp once we start tuning it and that linearity will give way to a massive shove in the back at 3500 rpm like a more typical tuned turbo engine.

The chassis, though, was the most astounding part for me. Keep in mind that McLaren has gone through at least 3-4 iterations of their hydraulically linked suspension since this car, so imagine how good the 720S is. That said, the suppleness of the MP12-4C was so amazing. It rides better than many luxury cars and absorbs mid-corner bumps like nothing I've ever experienced (including some cars with very expensive race shocks from Penske, Moton, etc.). I didn't push it particularly hard, but the ability of this car to hold a line unperturbed by bumps and pavement irregularities is incredible. I have my local test route and the MP12-4C acted like all the bumps and dips simple didn't exist. There is an apex dip on an uphill right hander of an on-ramp that I regularly take. Most good cars will take the bump and maintain a line, but you feel it and usually have to make a slight adjustment (and be careful with throttle application in powerful cars). Cars that are more intransigent about turning can be thrown into the bump to make them rotate better (but be careful lest you over-rotate). The MP12-4C through this corner felt as though the suspension literally extended into the dip while maintaining perfect body control. You could tell through the steering that something was happening at that corner, but it was simply a nice little message as opposed to a warning/alert/pucker up sort of feeling.

So, very impressive car. Quite cheap these days (under $100k) but McLaren reliability, electrical quirks (getting locked in your own car - yes it happens) and parts prices make me a little wary about grabbing one. I've heard if you can grab a wrecked salvage car at auction, that's the best way to ensure a low priced parts supply because the McLaren dealers will rape you every chance they get.

Look forward to doing more of these cars and maybe, maybe I'll find one in my garage some day.

SC

DCR
Profile for DCR
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-10-2019 22:25
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What color is it?
NSXman
Profile for NSXman
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-10-2019 23:04
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In 2012 I had a coupon to purchase some track time in a 911 Turbo, an F430, and a Gallardo. It was a little expensive, but in my opinion worth it.

There was an MP4-12C there as well, but the asking price was something on the order of 3x what the other cars were, so I passed on it...as did many others. It spent many of the laps in the pit lane with no takers.

But every now and again someone did take it out and I recall being impressed, watching it do hot laps.

Nick GravesX
Profile for Nick GravesX
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 05:40
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Any form of hydropneumatic suspension is cruelly ignored. The possibilities are fascinating.

Sadly, like the NC NSX, even the little McL is too big for our roads.

Probably the only 'supercars' I'd even consider worthy of the epithet.


Dren
Profile for Dren
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 06:16
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Lucky you, Shawn, thanks for the insight. Good luck with the new business direction as well. I'm curious what gains you are able to get with the Mclaren. I figured they ran their own ECU?
Grace141
Profile for Grace141
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 07:20
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Several rungs down on the ladder, I hitched a ride to lunch yesterday with my co-worker who has the track day Mustang GT with a full Ford Motorsport suspension. What a brilliant car that is with what amounts to a mild race suspension tune. The car is very busy on city streets but it's also very accurate and never jarring. Nicely done, Ford! It is amazing what a modern, sophisticated suspension design can do at absorbing bumps and maintaining attitude control.

I'd like to drive one of the new Accords now because my 8G Accord was easily a decade behind the other sedans at the time with suspension damping and control. Honda had a lot of work to do.

notyper
Profile for notyper
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 08:14
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DCR wrote:
What color is it?


White with a black racing stripe down the center. Has a few options too from the GT3 car.

SC

notyper
Profile for notyper
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 08:19
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Dren wrote:
Lucky you, Shawn, thanks for the insight. Good luck with the new business direction as well. I'm curious what gains you are able to get with the Mclaren. I figured they ran their own ECU?


McLaren is really too small to be doing a lot of outside development on things like that (hell, almost no one does their own from scratch ECU anymore, the investment is huge).

They also use a transmission from Graziano, and the engine is derived from a previously existing race engine. What McLaren really excelled at in this market is integration and chassis development (and I suppose the carbon tub too).

That said, the integration is certainly not perfect, with electrical and body integrity issues plaguing the cars. They certainly aren't buy it and drive it cars like any of the NSXs or Porsches these days. I was told that, beyond things like getting locked inside your own car, there are problems with lights falling out (rear indicator lights in particular), and the front headlights on this car are showing some weird delamination or something but I was told a light assembly is $7k.....

The newer cars are supposed to be much better, but as we saw with a famous Youtuber's new Senna burning down 3 days after he took delivery, they sure aren't perfect.

SC

NealX
Profile for NealX
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 08:36
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^ Sounds like it's time update your logo and branding...
JMU R1
Profile for JMU R1
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 09:48
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notyper wrote:

That said, the integration is certainly not perfect, with electrical and body integrity issues plaguing the cars. They certainly aren't buy it and drive it cars like any of the NSXs or Porsches these days. I was told that, beyond things like getting locked inside your own car, there are problems with lights falling out (rear indicator lights in particular), and the front headlights on this car are showing some weird delamination or something but I was told a light assembly is $7k.....

Yeah a lot of 12C's have yellowing and a headlight condensation issue. In addition to getting locked in the car, there's the window shattering when you close the door if the battery is run down.

Then there's the tiling and overall glitchiness with IRIS.

The newer cars are supposed to be much better, but as we saw with a famous Youtuber's new Senna burning down 3 days after he took delivery, they sure aren't perfect.

SC


It'll be interesting to see what the full story is (if it ever gets out), but one theory is that he was running the car in race mode on the street, which lowers the car (by 5 cm) to a level that is not safe to run on the street.

If it was a flaw with the car, it wouldn't be the first exotic to have that situation. McLarens so far have seemed to be less fire-prone that Ferraris have been for example.

notyper
Profile for notyper
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 11:22
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NealX wrote:
^ Sounds like it's time update your logo and branding...


Whole new company in fact (the current one isn't going away). And it won't be based in the US.

SC

notyper
Profile for notyper
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 11:29
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JMU R1 wrote:

It'll be interesting to see what the full story is (if it ever gets out), but one theory is that he was running the car in race mode on the street, which lowers the car (by 5 cm) to a level that is not safe to run on the street.

If it was a flaw with the car, it wouldn't be the first exotic to have that situation. McLarens so far have seemed to be less fire-prone that Ferraris have been for example.



True, I seem to remember a spate of Ferrari Car-B-Qs. That said, I don't think there is any explanation that McLaren can give that will exonerate them short of Salomondrin cutting some fuel lines on purpose. Running the car too low on the street should not result in car fires (else we'd see thousands of Civics a month burn in SoCal....).

SC

NealX
Profile for NealX
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 12:49
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notyper wrote:
NealX wrote:
^ Sounds like it's time update your logo and branding...


Whole new company in fact (the current one isn't going away). And it won't be based in the US.

SC


Great! Happy to help should you need some, friend.

JMU R1
Profile for JMU R1
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 13:05
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Supposedly Race mode on the Senna gives the driver a warning that damage may occur if race mode is used on the street and that the ride height is not street legal. The typical stanced Civic doesn't have carbon fiber diffusers that will explode into shards with a hard enough impact.

Might be the type of thing where if McLaren gets taken to court, they'll be forced to settle or potentially lose though. And McLaren may then decide to disable race mode unless GPS detects you're on a racetrack in future models. Or just not offer a suspension lowering function on an extreme street car again.

CarPhreakD
Profile for CarPhreakD
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 13:21
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Have you thought about doing OEM business? Thermal chambers and the like?
TonyEX
Profile for TonyEX
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 14:00
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Is the new administration's stance on the EPA helping?

Calimexistan is screwed though, our CARB can only be fixed by us moving out of State, or a fundamental reshuffling of our political machines.

So, moving out of the Country too? Ay Amigo! Gonna do armored supercars for rich Mexicans and Germans? Paraguay might be a great place to start.

cksi1372
Profile for cksi1372
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 17:24
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notyper wrote:
I'm trying to gradually retarget my tuning business at higher end vehicles with a more worldwide reach as the EPA (and CARB) continue to tighten the noose on the automotive aftermarket in the US (also doing more offroad stuff, but I expect EPA and especially CARB to come for that hard in a few more years too).

As such, I'm spending more time (and money) developing offerings for high end German turbo luxury cars as well as various exotics. There are already quite a few players in these markets, but the level of development is very, shall we say, suspect?

Pretty much all of these vehicles use some form of Bosch ECU, with Seimens and now Continental starting to make some inroads. So if you have the ability to get into one car, you can get into all of them.

Anyways, one of my good customers brought over a McLaren MP12-4C today for us to begin development on. Being McLaren's first offering it has its warts (and McLaren's in general have some genetic flaws that they can't seem to get rid of), but its still a beautiful car, and it produced an easy 500 whp completely stock, which at 3200 lbs is a lot of go (compare that to about 500 whp for an NSX with full charge but a 3900 lbs weight).

I was invited to drive it for a few miles to get a feel for the vehicle since we're going to be trying to improve the power quite a bit in stages. The engine delivery is very linear. A bit soft below 3000 rpm, but then from 3k-7k just a linear, ever increasing swell of power. You can rev it out to 8k, and you will be faster for it in most situations, but it feels natural, and quite fast shifting at 7k. I suspect we're going to gain a lot more torque than hp once we start tuning it and that linearity will give way to a massive shove in the back at 3500 rpm like a more typical tuned turbo engine.

The chassis, though, was the most astounding part for me. Keep in mind that McLaren has gone through at least 3-4 iterations of their hydraulically linked suspension since this car, so imagine how good the 720S is. That said, the suppleness of the MP12-4C was so amazing. It rides better than many luxury cars and absorbs mid-corner bumps like nothing I've ever experienced (including some cars with very expensive race shocks from Penske, Moton, etc.). I didn't push it particularly hard, but the ability of this car to hold a line unperturbed by bumps and pavement irregularities is incredible. I have my local test route and the MP12-4C acted like all the bumps and dips simple didn't exist. There is an apex dip on an uphill right hander of an on-ramp that I regularly take. Most good cars will take the bump and maintain a line, but you feel it and usually have to make a slight adjustment (and be careful with throttle application in powerful cars). Cars that are more intransigent about turning can be thrown into the bump to make them rotate better (but be careful lest you over-rotate). The MP12-4C through this corner felt as though the suspension literally extended into the dip while maintaining perfect body control. You could tell through the steering that something was happening at that corner, but it was simply a nice little message as opposed to a warning/alert/pucker up sort of feeling.

So, very impressive car. Quite cheap these days (under $100k) but McLaren reliability, electrical quirks (getting locked in your own car - yes it happens) and parts prices make me a little wary about grabbing one. I've heard if you can grab a wrecked salvage car at auction, that's the best way to ensure a low priced parts supply because the McLaren dealers will rape you every chance they get.

Look forward to doing more of these cars and maybe, maybe I'll find one in my garage some day.

SC



Wow, great info and news. I wish I were closer as I'd let you use my AMG43 to do development work on, if desired. I want to add a bit more power and there are quite a few offerings discussed over on the MB forums, but being a bit risk averse, I've really only considered Renntech or JB4. Renntech is expensive, but they have a great reputation and tons of experience with MB's. BMS (JB4) is newer to the MB scene, but seems to have a good rep for a piggyback and they have a huge following with BMW's.

There are many other tuners, but it's amazing the variation of hp/tq between them and what they are getting out of the 43's and 63's in the MB world. There's one guy out of Virginia that posts relatively frequently on the MB site I use and he seems to have extensive tuning knowledge, so I like reading what he has to say...like with you. I may have to PM him and road trip down to VA sometime, would love to learn more about tuning.

Good luck with your new developments!

notyper
Profile for notyper
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 18:47
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CarPhreakD wrote:
Have you thought about doing OEM business? Thermal chambers and the like?


I have, but the investment in that relative to the risk/return is a little high at this point (lotta upfront capital costs).

My primary goal is to protect my income stream as much as possible from the vagaries and whims of government bureaucrats which means diversifying outside of California first, and then outside the US.

OTOH, I could run for office and play the game from the other side, but my significant other doesn't want that.

SC

notyper
Profile for notyper
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 18:56
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TonyEX wrote:
Is the new administration's stance on the EPA helping?

Calimexistan is screwed though, our CARB can only be fixed by us moving out of State, or a fundamental reshuffling of our political machines.

So, moving out of the Country too? Ay Amigo! Gonna do armored supercars for rich Mexicans and Germans? Paraguay might be a great place to start.



Unfortunately the EPA hacks are back at their tricks. And they are working fist in glove with CARB. They forced their way into getting a coveted presentation slot at SEMA this year under the guise of telling the market how they were going to make it easier to certify new products. But in reality they were basically telling the attendees that they were watching and you better play by their rules or they're going to come down on you. EPA rep went so far as to say not to bother contacting them for a Federal Test cycle qualification (FTP), just go to Cali and get a CARB cert. They were also walking around the show floor taking pictures and notes which means they're just looking for their next target.

The problem is that they are basically going to let CARB make the rules for the aftermarket, which is bad, bad, bad.

I'm not leaving the country, but we will be forming a corporation in another country to handle certain products. I'm simply going to be a software provider. The only way to avoid nasty entanglements with the regulatory agencies now is to make sure that the end customer is the one doing all the changes. Even so, Cali's new emissions checking and what the CHP is doing is going to put a dent in the aftermarket here. Fail even one monitor on your OBD2 check and you go to the state ref. Get pulled over for a loud exhaust? Go to state ref. They're going hard at modified cars and fuck all to anyone else caught up in the scam.

SC

TonyEX
Profile for TonyEX
Re: Drove my first McLaren today....    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 19:10
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notyper wrote:
... Get pulled over for a loud exhaust? Go to state ref. They're going hard at modified cars and fuck all to anyone else caught up in the scam.

SC




"Loud exhaust"?

Interesting.

Two weeks ago, by UCI, they had one of them large programmable lights sign "loud exhausts enforced" or something like that.

I better not eat chili con carne the night before I drive by... I may have my own "loud exhaust".

What next? They give you a ticket because you smoke a cigar while driving and exhale the smoke out the window?

This place is getting well beyond nuts.




 
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