Decision Time: LaFerrari, McLaren P1, or Porsche 918

The Unicorn – Our Jaguar XJR-15
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December 15, 2017

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.

1 Comment

  1. Tim says:

    Fascinating article. People assume these decisions are simple and forgetting it’s a big gamble with a lot of money & for something you’ve likely not seen.

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