Road rocket race
Price unknown, collectors snap up a year’s allocation, writes Paul Gover
THE first 15 McLaren MP4-12C supercars for Australia are gone. Even without a price, but with a confirmed 0-100km/ h sprint in 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 330km/h, they have been snapped up by keen drivers and collectors.
Anyone who wants a car will be waiting until at least the start of 2012, or potentially longer, to park the Ferrari rival in their driveway.
McLaren has now confirmed its Australia showroom will be in Alexandria in Sydney, as part of the Trivett Group, as it races to satisfy customer demand from its base in Britain.
Two other McLaren road rockets are also under way, while the British company — best known for the Formula One team currently headlined by world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button— is also developing a race-ready 12C coupe.
‘‘The allocation for this year, which is 15 cars, are all pre-sold,’’ says McLaren’s Asia-Pacific marketing chief, Ian Gorsuch.
‘‘We’re already well into next year, with an allocation of 30-40 cars. And that’s without the price.’’
The first delivery will happen in October, and it won’t be a celebrity delivery like the ones for Shane Warne, Australia’s most famous Lamborghini driver.
‘‘To be quite frank, I don’t know who it is. If you’re the first person on the list, you will be the first person to get a car. We’re being transparent about that,’’ Gorsuch says.
The 12C is expected to cost more than $500,000 in Australia but, as McLaren works flat-out on a new factory at its base in Woking, it is already trailing demand.
‘‘ Worldwide we’re at about an 18-month or two-year order bank. The new factory comes online in May-June of next year,’’ says Gorsuch.
He refuses to name any of the Australia buyers but says they are not just Ferrari owners who want to test the McLaren experience.
‘‘The very first ones are all the typical early adopters. They are the ones who have to have the car. They put a deposit down without even knowing the price.
‘‘The ones coming through now are less into drama, and have more of an understanding of the engineering. They are quite considered.’’
Gorsuch says McLaren is already being hit with special requests that will be handled by a division called McLaren Owner Exclusive.
It goes beyond such things as colour choice — McLaren says it can do anything short of the very special chrome silver on its F1 cars — and the Corsa tyre and lightweight package options already available.
‘‘We have people asking for the silver of the race cars, but we cannot supply it as it’s only intended to endure for the race distance. Still, we’re working on it.’’
Gorsuch says McLaren has an aggressive plan for its road car division, starting with the GT3 race version just announced but yet to be made public.
‘‘The first unveiling of the 12C was a few months ago so, almost annually, there will be something cropping up. We’ll have a complete range of models and derivatives from the middle of the decade. And we want something new and fresh each year.’’
Rush is on: (above) The new McLaren MP4-12C after its unveiling at Woking, England, and (left) ready to burn.