Road rocket race

Price un­known, col­lec­tors snap up a year’s al­lo­ca­tion, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

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.

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