If you're an automotive enthusiast and you don't quite know who the Daytona Group is, it's time to hand over your Man Card. I'll also take that Man Card if you're not familiar with McLaren's latest hyper car. the P1. I will forgive you for not knowing that there's one in SA though because it's not easy to comprehend that someone can own a car that retails for the amazing amount of R21 000 000. That's six zeros... But there are people who can afford the best the world has to offer, and yes, they do live in South Africa. These people aren't rich, they're wealthy, and they have great taste.
The Dayton Group caters to this exclusive clientele's automotive addictions. Under their banner they do Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Rolly Royce, Mini and of course, McLaren. You'll see other supercars in their showroom too, if you can think of it, they'll have one. If they don't have something, they can get one. You're also likely to see a rare mint condition muscle car or two there. It's a slice of automotive heaven. It's clear that the CEO, Justin Divaris, has a passion for sports cars.He's my type of guy.
The Mclaren P1 has been in the country for a couple of months now, but it hasn't been seen by too many people. It made an appearance at the Rogue Rally and got local social media buzzing with excitement, especially after a pic was seen on Instagram with the car's speedo showing over 330km/h and a quote telling us "there's more in it". This is a car that has truly set a new benchmark for all others to follow. To see what the car could do on a racetrack, Daytona put together a McLaren day at Kyalami, and the Who's Who were invited to see the car in action. Besides all the VIPs and press, the public was also allowed in, making for an awesome day at the track. This P1 test session pulled more spectators than an actual race meeting! McLaren owners from around SA also made their way to the track to take advantage of being able to thrash their cars in a safe and secure environment. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was surprised at how many McLarens are in SA.
"McLaren owners from around SA also made their way to the track to take advantage of being able to thrash their cars in a safe and secure environment. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was surprised at how many McLarens are in SA."
The McLaren range includes the MP4-12C, the 650S and the P1, and they were all there, including the one that started it all, the F1. The F1 attracted just as much attention as the P1, but it never ventured out onto the track. It would have been great to see, but considering just how rare the car is, I was more than happy enough just to be able to see it in the metal and to be able to snap some pics of it. Actually, being able to get pics of them all was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity and I took full advantage.
Besides giving McLaren owners an awesome day out, the point was to see just how fast the P1 is. Fast is an understatement. It's more than that, I think that a new word needs to be invented that better describes the pace of the car. The acceleration is brutal, the handling is second to none and the sound is pure aural pleasure. The McLaren P1 really is the best of the best. It's also a hybrid car that makes use of a petrol engine and an electric engine. The petrol side is a 3800cc twin-turbo V8 that boosts an impressive 2.4bar to make a very powerful 542kW with 719Nm of torque. The additional electric motor produces 131kW with 260Nm, which gives the McLaren P1 a combined power output of a spectacular 673kW and 978Nm. This in a car that tips the scales at 1393kg. The resulting performance figures are just mad. According to McLaren, the P1 does the 0-100km/h launch in just 2.8-seconds! Running to higher numbers, the 0-200km/h test happens faster than most cars can hit the 100km/h mark - 6.8-seconds is the figure. For some, a quarter mile perfromance figure is important, even though this car is made as an all-round driver's car and not a straightline racer, but still, it's claimed to hit the standing 400m mark in an absolutely mental time of just 9.8-seconds at a speed of 245km/h! When given the opportunity to stretch it's legs, the McLaren P1 is electronically limited to a top speed of 350km/h. This is why it's not referred to as a supercar and instead has the title of Hypercar.
"...even though this car is made as an all-round driver's car and not a straightline racer, but still, it's claimed to hit the standing 400m mark in an absolutely mental time of just 9.8-seconds at a speed of 245km/h!"
For the track session, and to get the best times out of the car, it makes sense that the driver needed to be someone with a great level of experience and expertise. No one is going to hand the keys of a R21mil car over to just anyone. So to make sure things ran smoothly, the Daytona Group brought out a man who has one of the best jobs on the planet, Chris Goodwin. You should know that name, but if you don't, it's my job to educate you. Chris Goodwin is the Chief Test Driver for McLaren Automotive. He's spent more time behind the wheel of McLaren street cars than anyone else, ever. For the track sessions, the McLaren P1 wasn't given any special setup, even the tyres were original spec street tyres. The performance of the car was down to the combination of the car and the driver. Chris had a few sessions on track and sent a few sets of tyres to the grave, and in the process set the fastest time I've ever heard of for a production car at the circuit. As I recall, the MP4-12C had the record at 1:49, and the P1 killed that with a best lap time of 1:45! Absolutely freaking mental!
The Daytona Group did what they set out to do, to prove that they're the country's leaders in automotive excellence, to give McLaren owners an aweswome day out and to put the P1 up on the pedastal it so rightly deserves. Well done to everyone involved, and from me personally, I want to thank The Daytona Group and Justin Divaris for the awesome opportunity of being able to see and photogtaphy so many amazing cars.
Oh, and all the pics are for sale, and I can also arrange printing, framing and block mounting. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested.