It wasn’t long after the invention of the automobile that people became obsessed with acquiring more speed. For manufacturers, having the world’s fastest production car was a major honor, though it took a few decades before objectively minded trade publications made it possible to compete on a level playing field.

Most production vehicles only manage to hold the record for a few years. There are, of course, exceptions. Lamborghini’s Miura P400 maintained its title as world’s fastest production car from 1970 to 1982, when the LP500 S version of the Countach debuted. The next decade would see the record change hands almost yearly until McLaren’s carbon-bodied F1 achieved 240 mph — destroying the previous benchmark by a wide margin.

While there is some contention that the F1’s maximum speed was only achievable via the elimination of its rev limiter, it still set the record at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien proving ground in 1993 under accepted guidelines and held that record until 2005. With the limiter intact, many argue the Jaguar XJ220 or RUF CTR2 would have been king of the hill until the Bugatti Veyron’s debut. Regardless, McLaren still built a production vehicle that was physically capable of reaching 240 mph and never bothered to reach any higher.

That’s expected to change once the company’s love song to the F1, the BP23 Hyper-GT, comes out. 

Essentially a homage to McLaren’s most famous model, the BP23 won’t actually vie for the production car world speed record. All the company wants to do is build a modern-day version of the historic F1 that’s also the best sports car in existence. While the latter seems like an ambitious prospect, even for McLaren, the former is an assurance. Spyshots show the model bearing the F1’s signature three-abreast seating, with the driver smack dab in the middle.

The automaker also claims a top speed of at least 243 mph, which was believed to be the theoretical limit of the F1. McLaren says it’s limiting the $2.2 million car to just 106 examples — identical to the old car’s production run. One thing the BP23 won’t share with its forebear, however, is its hardcore nature. According to the automaker, the model won’t just be the fastest car it has ever built, it will also be the most luxurious.

For what it’s worth, McLaren claims the 243 mph top speed is just a starting point. Why a supercar manufacturer would downplay that particular specification is curious. Sure, it’s a fun nod to the F1 but it can’t possibly be that much higher or the company would probably be telling the Koenigsegg to watch its back.

Joining the Senna as part of McLaren’s Ultimate Series cars and already sold out, the BP23 will carry an as-yet unannounced name — rather than the alphanumerical nomenclatures used by the McLaren Sports Series and Super Series cars. The new moniker, along with the maximum possible speed, will be disclosed closer to the car’s official reveal.

[Images: McLaren]




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