Secret Supercar Owner's space
SSO: Decision Time: LaFerrari, McLaren P1, or Porsche 918
May 23, 2013 6:32 AM  |  Posted By: Secret Supercar Owner
Rated 4.1 out of 5.0 by 10 members  |  17 Comments  |  28033 Views
Related Categories: Supercars

Several years ago I decided that when the next round of limited edition supercars from Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche were launched, if I was in a position to, I would place an order.  At this point, a choice has been made and the deposit placed.  Right now we are looking at an early 2015 delivery date.  While I could get an earlier build slot, especially with the limited edition cars, my preference is for one from near the end of the production run.  Both my Ferrari F40 and F50 are late production cars and the Jaguar XJR-15 is the last one produced.

Before making the decision on which car to place a deposit on, I took a hard look at two of the three contenders.  The third option I had effectively ruled out several years ago.  Starting with the last on the list, the LaFerrari, I had opted out (or more accurately, not tried to opt in) of the running for an invite to buy several years ago.  To the best of my knowledge, the only sure way to get on the invite list for a LaFerrari was to purchase a new FXX or a 599XX.  The other route one could try involved owning at least 5 Ferraris and buying every new model that Ferrari produced in the last decade, including the special editions.  If you then decided to part with of these Ferraris, you could only sell them back via official dealers after owning them for at least a year.  This second route would put you in good standing but was not a guarantee.  Participating in the Corse Clienti racing program would be an added bonus as would buying a F1 car from the factory.  As I did none of the above I never expected to receive the magic invite to Maranello for the LaFerrari launch.  No matter how hard I tried to make the man math work on the Enzo successor, I could not justify spending several million £s on cars, many of which I really didn’t want, just to get the one I might be interested in years later.  In essence, the real price tag to get an invitation to purchase a LaFerrari is 2-3Xs the cars actual cost.

McLaren was a very different story.  I expressed an early interest in the F1 successor and over a period of time got to know a few of the people involved with the McLaren road car program on both the factory and dealer side.  When I told them I was serious, I immediately received an invite to go see the P1 and have a formal briefing on the program.  At the end of the briefing I had a few questions which they promised to follow up on shortly.  Within a couple of days I had all the answers to my questions.  I then told them that I wanted a bit more time to think about it before making a final decision.  An invitation to see the P1 at the Geneva Auto Show followed shortly thereafter.  The decision to move forward was made and the formal “expression of interest” paperwork filed.  A confirmation from McLaren then followed several weeks later stating that I had been accepted to the P1 program.  At no point in the process was it directly suggested or implied that buying a SLR or 12C would help in terms of securing a build slot for the P1.  This approach I really appreciated, and it was not until after everything was confirmed on the P1 that I set up a test drive for a 12C Spider (which then lead quickly to a 12C Spider becoming the latest addition to the garage).

On the 918, other than a brief email expressing interest in receiving information on the 918, I have not directly had any discussions with Porsche.  The high build numbers (918 vs. 375 and 499) in relation to either the McLaren or Ferrari, were an immediate concern especially given the history on the Carrera GT where the target of 1500 cars was not reached.   The rumors about the weight and overly complicated electronics did not help the 918s case.   They also brought back memories of a few discussions with 959 owners and the staggering costs they have keeping these cars running 25 years later.  The more I read on the 918 and compared it to Porsche’s other supercars, the more I realized it was the much simpler, analogue, and focused Carrera GT that really appealed. 

Net net, the decision has been made and I am delighted with it.  I am sure the P1 will be an incredible car with abilities well in advance of anything the owner is capable of exploiting.  McLarens proven history with the F1 does provide a fair amount of comfort that they will get the P1 as right as they did the F1.  Everything I have seen so far would indicate McLaren are very much on the right track.


My Twitter account is @SupercarOwner . I will send out a message when the latest Fast Fleet entry or blog is posted.

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LAX at 8:59 PM October 13, 2013

Fantastic choice!

Secret Supercar Owner at 4:57 PM August 19, 2013

Not really on the other options. Have already owned a Mosler & Koenigsegg which I would consider a step up from the Noble or Hennessy.

JakobusVdL at 11:03 AM August 16, 2013

Great that you have those options, are there any other current or planned models that you'd consider as an alternative to these three? I.e anything from a lesser known manufacturer? Noble, Hennessey, or even get something scratch build for you?

BMcG at 9:14 PM August 2, 2013

Umm... mazio - perhaps you forget about the McLaren F1? McLaren doesn't need the P1 to get into the hypercar game - for all intents and purposes they created the modern hypercar segment with the F1.

Secret Supercar Owner at 7:10 AM July 31, 2013

I suggest you go back and study the engineering details on the P1 again. The P1 has as much in common with the 12C as the LaFerrari does with the F12.

mazio at 11:37 PM July 30, 2013

I am sorry, but I disagree. I do not see the P1 as being in the same league as LaFerrari and 918 just because they are priced similarly. It may be a technically brilliant and well-engineered car, but it is still essentially a modified version of a 12C @ 4 times the cost of a 12C! Hardly a bespoke hyper car in the same mould as the other two or a Veyron for that matter. It is a very cunning way of getting into the lucrative hyper car market for McLaren and to my eyes a bit of a con.

Secret Supercar Owner at 10:56 AM July 27, 2013

Very doubtful on the C-X75 if it was priced in the same range as the LaFa, P1, or 918. At GBP 200k might be tempted but otherwise no.

pab107 at 9:32 AM July 26, 2013

Out of curiosity, had Jaguar gone all the way with their hybrid, would it have been on your list to choose from? I see you already know that Jaguar can occasionally step up and produce a blinder (Jaguar XJR-15), but would the 4 cylinder turbo have put you off even with over 10k rpm? It did make an interesting sound at Goodwood!

Draavig at 1:55 PM July 10, 2013

Very interesting article and once you go into it, your logic does seem sound and the P1 the best choice of the 3. For me though, there is one potential spanner in the works. Something which always applies to choosing a car. I was fortunate to go on a track day where I drove 5 supercars..when I went I had an order in my head of least favorate to most favorate... at the end of the day after "actually driving them", the list had completely changed... Will you get to the opportunity to drive 1 before you hand over the balance?

LAX at 8:45 PM June 16, 2013

Fantastic vehicles all of them, but if these 3 cars is not for you....? Why not wait for the Huayra F (Club Sport) or RS!? Or why not save some money and wait for the 991 GT2 / GT2 RS!

steveo220 at 7:30 AM May 27, 2013

SSO, congratulations on an outstanding acquisition. I would donate important parts of my anatomy to own any one of these cars - all three are stunning. Although I was not too keen on the looks of the P1 at first, it has really grown on me and I think in years to come it will be seen as a watershed moment in car design, much as the F1 was. The other 2 are certainly beautiful cars, but not groundbreaking. That has to be the right approach for McLaren. It will be great to hear more about the experience of acquiring such a landmark car as you go through the process.

phut at 11:54 PM May 23, 2013

now see if you can lap the ring in 6'33"

JimExpl at 1:08 PM May 23, 2013

The other purchase avenue is to buy one at a premium. In the last two weeks I have been offered two build slots for LaFerrari and one of the three Venenos being built... When you consider the amount of depreciation involved in buying multiple Ferraris to get on a list, the buyers premium begins to appear cheap!

JohnMc at 11:08 AM May 23, 2013

I would be interested to know your thoughts on the Huayra and Agera R by comparison to the 3 mentioned here? Did you consider them? Enjoy speccing your P1!

eugenux at 10:12 AM May 23, 2013

if you have rejected the NA engine route, why not have the full party and consider a pagani huayra?

Erwin1978 at 9:00 AM May 23, 2013

Nice write up as usual. Congrats on the purchase! I'm sure many meetings with McLaren are to follow to determine exact spec, options and fitting? Looking forward to items in EVO leading up to the delivery. Cheers.

Focus69 at 6:56 AM May 23, 2013

You lucky bugger. I would have probably chosen the same one. In the metal it looks great and in the videos it sounds good too. Now you just have to wait until 2015!!! Atleast you have a few other fantastic cars to drive until then.

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