Those four laps I had at the wheel of the McLaren MP4-12C left a smile on my face for the day, and the rest of the weekend too.
I've met the MP4-12C on several occasions and even sat in the driver's seat to admire its extensive carbon fibre workmanship, but never had the chance to even start up the car. Finally, the opportunity came for me to roar the car to life and also take it for a rather hard spin.
Held from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm one Saturday at Changi Exhibition Centre, Wearnes Automotive, the authorised distributor for McLaren Singapore, over 100 participants took to the wheel of the MP4-12C. They consisted of the media, current customers and prospective buyers.
Instead of just a drive around the showroom, this introductory drive experience allowed us to understand the features of the car better and feel its characteristics under the guidance of instructors in a controlled environment. Denis Lian, former racing driver and brand manager for McLaren Singapore, designed the track, giving it a string of sharp corners, high-speed turns and slaloms too.
The track is big enough to have two cars go out at a time, taking different sides of course. Thereafter, there was a little face-off challenge between both participants before the instructor took over the wheel and showed us a hot lap in the MP4-12C.
The MP4-12C might be quite a handful to type, or quite a mouthful to say, but its performance on the track is straightforwardly impressive. Since the McLaren F1, this is the first production car wholly manufactured by McLaren Automotive.
The roars and growls of the mid-mounted McLaren M838T 3.8-litre V8 twin turbo engine are pretty addictive, giving me little goosebumps each time I step the accelerator pedal down. Through the seven-speed Seamless Shift dual clutch gearbox, the limits of 592 bhp of power and 601Nm of torque can be delivered with its smooth and quick shifts.
It was a brief introduction of the car's dynamic capabilities, performing its prowess with its pro-active chassis control. Although it has a lot of potential that might intimidate its first-time drivers, it has a forgiving attitude that keeps you safe and secure. If you take it too fast into the corner, it will work its inside rear brake to reduce the understeer and if you throttle too soon out of the corner, its stability control system will come in place, in tandem with the hydraulic suspension that reduces body roll.
There is a lot more to be discovered about this McLaren, but that will have to be another opportunity.
Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at www.cheryl-tay.com.