McLaren Showroom. Dubai, UAE. Seeing The Light

Sitting in a far corner – and perhaps slightly overshadowed by its fully-clothed siblings – is a bare MP4-12C rolling chassis with integrated carbon tub. From a distance it looks like a giant Meccano set or an industrial piece of artwork, and I immediately decide I want one for my living room.

I am probably not the most qualified person on Earth to comment on the engineering witchcraft performed by the Wizards of Woking, but seeing the bare-bones of an MP4-12C draws immediate parallels with the MP4-21. It’s amazing how much of the design and technology developed in F1 is transferred across to McLaren’s road cars.

The ever-helpful Michelle, who has been keeping a watchful eye throughout, informs me that the chassis is based around an F1 style, one-piece carbon fibre tub called a carbon MonoCell and weighs just 80kg. The driver and the 3.8l twin-turbo V8 sit incredibly low within the chassis, reducing the centre of gravity and thus improving the vehicle’s handling.

With Michelle beside me as my protector (should security come running) I take the opportunity to leap into the seat and start making vroom-vroom noises. With only the driver’s seat installed in the carbon MonoCell, Michelle has to make-do with standing beside the chassis and grinning while I entertain myself.

Several hours of arduous ‘work’ later, I decide it’s best to move on and grab some shots of the other cars. By a lucky coincidence there are four MP4-12Cs here tonight. All are sold and waiting to be delivered to their very lucky new owners. Not jealous. Not me. Much…

The MP4-12C is a supremely clean design that never panders to expectations of supercar flamboyance. Each individual component has been designed with functionality as its main priority, and each is then combined with the rest into a harmonious whole that looks stunning in this half-light.

Although I am happy to be capturing the shots I came for (quite literally showing McLaren in a different light), I also realize that the photographs will never totally convey the atmosphere of this evening. An after-hours lock-in at this showroom is like a child being locked in a sweety shop, and sneaking around like a stealth-ninja in the dark has proven immensely entertaining.

I get the feeling though that my presence here has upset the security team’s routine. So, with my task compete, I head for the door and stroll back past the security guards, nonchalantly beaming a smug, self-congratulatory smile at a job well done. Unfortunately, the door is locked when I try it. My stealth ninja training perhaps needs a bit of work:

“Could one of you kind gentleman let me out, please?”

– Our thanks to Michelle Hogan, Performance PR, and McLaren Middle East. Be sure to check out the full gallery HERE.

Categories: Lifestyle


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