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Through Ian's Lens: McLaren MP4-12C

Almost 20 years after McLaren launched its first car, the elusive F1, the British automotive company that's best known for its racing technology is ready to release a second car, the MP4-12C. In 1993, the F1 was a stunning vehicle that turned heads with its center-mounted driver’s seat (flanked by recessed two passenger seats), gold-foil exhaust heat shield and carbon fiber monocoque chassis. With just over 100 vehicles built and only 64 vehicles sold, the F1 wasn't only a technological and engineering feat, it truly was a sight to see in real life. A few weeks ago, we were allowed a few minutes alone with the MP4-12C, and I just couldn’t pass up a chance to capture it.

What design advances has McLaren made in the last 20 years? From the MP4-12C's exterior, I'd say it hasn’t stretched its design very far. Scratch at the surface of the MP4-12C, however, and you’ll start to see that McLaren design has made huge strides in creating the next big supercar to hit the streets. Taking design cues from the F1 and its racing heritage, the MP4-12C looks much like its older brother in overall shape, but with slightly different design cues along the sides and especially in the car's rear. Exhaust pipes above the rear bumper center the car's tail, while large taillights wrap around the hips. Headlights built in the shape of the McLaren logo are also a nice touch. The beauty in the MP4-12C is found within its simplicity, curves and materials. It also helps that only 300 of these cars — priced between $225,000 and $250,000 — will be sent to America. It's a rare specimen indeed.

To display the new chassis, McLaren also brought along an MP4-12C stripped bare to the drivetrain, so we could see the upgrades in materials, the engine's design and the savings in weight. Supposedly, we will be seeing more from McLaren in the coming years, and to be honest I can’t wait to see what they do next.

You can browse a larger gallery by clicking any of the images below. You can also check out a video of the McLaren MP4-12C here.