AUGUST 6, 2010
Ron is gunning for Enzo
Some may have mocked Ron Dennis's vision of Grand Prix success and a legacy to match that of Enzo Ferrari, but McLaren has taken the latest step to matching Ferrari's brand exclusivity when it announced a showroom at London's newest and most exclusive development, One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge.
There was a time, before Ferrari's spell of unprecedented domination for five years from 2000, when McLaren had actually won more grands prix than the prancing horse but, currently, the score is Ferrari, 212; McLaren, 168.
Behind the two most successful teams in F1 history is Williams, which has never ventured into the automotive world, and Lotus, which, under the guise of Lotus Racing returned to the F1 fray this year after a 16-year absence. Lotus, of course, has sports car heritage but on a less exclusive level.
One Hyde Park is some of the most exclusive real estate anywhere in the world and will also feature a number of stratospherically priced penthouses. McLaren Automotive is due to move into the new premises early next year, in time for the official launch of the MP4-12C - its first 'affordable' supercar.
It will feature a 600bhp 3.8-litre turbocharged V8 endowing it with acceleration of 0-125mph in less than 10 seconds. There has been much speculation about its pricing level, with McLaren claiming that it will bring the performance of a £500,000 car to the road for a third of the price. It will be a rival to the Ferrari 458 Italia and Lamborghini Gallardo.
McLaren will announce further dealer locations this year, with the long-term plan being 70 worldwide dealers selling 4000 cars a year which, interestingly enough, was the production level Ferrari set itself in order to generate profit and maintain brand exclusivity.