Ever since the F1 and the MP4-12C, British supercar maker McLaren has been using rear-wheel drive on all of their vehicles, even in their P1 hypercar. However as cars become ever more powerful and faster, there comes a certain limit where rear-wheel drive vehicles can no longer put the power down safely and would only make the traction control work harder.
Mike Flewitt, McLaren CEO is apparently considering the transition to all-wheel drives, but says its still a long way off. Speaking with Car and Driver, Flewitt says that the McLaren cars, such as the rear-wheel drive 720S, are close to the approaching the limits of their drivetrains. And in order to add maker more powerful and faster cars, the British marque will have to find a way to put the power down properly.
“We’re not there yet, but I’d say we’re getting close to the limit. We’re not planning [all wheel drive] right now, but we’re conscious it’s a direction that we may well want to go in,” said Flewitt.
Car and Driver says that a conventional all-wheel drive system will likely not be used. Instead, McLaren will possibly take a similar all-wheel drive layout to that of the Porsche 918 and the Acura NSX – with an electric front axle. Instead of sending a driveshaft to power the front wheels, a separate electric motor will drive the front axles.
“Our hybrid architecture will be flexible, and from an engineering point of view there’s no point bringing a shaft down the center of the car,” adds Flewitt.
Apart from the possiblity of all-wheel drive McLarens in the future, the company is also considering lightening their vehicles by getting rid of the rear subframe. Instead, the engine and transmission will be bolted directly on to the carbon monocoque chassis.
Source: Car and Driver