McLaren Asia/Pacific managing director George Biggs wants the brand’s forthcoming, three-seat BP23 hypercar to arrive in Australia and hopefully be driven on local roads.
Although joining the likes of the Aston Martin Valkyrie, Bugatti Veyron and Mercedes-AMG Project One as part of circa-2020 next-generation of hypercars, the BP23 is tagged as a ‘hyper GT’ and will follow the iconic F1 with a central driving position and seat either side.
All 106 examples – the same number of McLaren F1s produced between 1992 and 1998 – have already been sold, but Biggs hints that some buyers could be from Down Under.
“We’re in conversation with clients,” he tells MOTOR at the local reveal of the 570S Spider in Sydney last week.
“We’re a global company so we make sure that all of our markets are served correctly. So on that basis ... I would expect that we may see the car [BP23] here.”
There is also a chance the hypercar can be driven on public roads, given an Australian Government proposal to change import regulations that would allow exotic vehicles produced in numbers fewer than 1000 to legally remain in left-hand drive configuration – although further state or territory registration permission will be required.
Of that possibility, Biggs says: “Understanding the various regulations and rules for the market, whether it’ll be appropriate regulation or not for that particular market, it’s an ongoing conversation.”
“From our perspective, we operate obviously in (many) countries now,” he continues.
“We work with the local government and the regulators in that market and we respect the rules. We’re a manufacturer that has to work within those rules. Obviously, we're in some dialogue but largely, it’s about, what are the rules? How do we comply with them?”
But does Biggs believe a central-seat McLaren could get past regulations here? “We’ll have to wait and see how it goes,” he responds.
Not that the BP23 will be ready anytime soon. McLaren has confirmed it will be a hybrid, like the P1, with more power than that predecessor’s 672kW/900Nm. No doubt the British brand will be looking to trump Germany, given AMG’s Project One will produce 740kW-plus.
According to McLaren global head of product Alex Long, the BP23 is still very much in a prototype stage. Final design needs to be signed off, hybrid systems need to become lighter, even an official production name must be chosen.
“We haven’t settled on that side of things yet,” Long says of the naming discussion.
“The project name was BP23 [but] we’ve yet to settle on a moniker. We’re not into final design, execution or anything like that at this stage so you won’t be seeing the car just yet.
“The sense of using hybrid to enhance performance is absolutely where we want to go, but we also want to do it in a way true to our DNA, which is ‘lightly’. So at the moment, a lot of electric and hybrid solutions are very heavy in their execution, which doesn’t help handling and doesn’t help supercar credentials.
“But I drove the three-seat mule quite a lot in recent times. I can say already, sitting in the middle seat of a McLaren ... it’s absolutely brilliant.”
The McLaren BP23 is tipped to be revealed in 2019, and the rumour mill points to a combination of the 770Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine from the 720S – up from 3.8-litre unit used in P1 – with electric motors as the probable production powertrain.