The £170,000 sportscars are being put through their paces in Spain and the car manufacturer has caught the action on camera.
Featured in this short film are the XP8 and XP10 prototypes, wrapped in black vinyl to disguise their looks.
The cars are sporting a revised version on the M838T twin-turbo, 3.8-litre V8 engine that packs around 600bhp, will crack 200mph and hit 60mph in under four seconds.
Although official figures have not yet been released, McLaren says indicative performance tests suggest the firm’s aspirations to out-perform its competitors ‘appear well founded’.
Mark Vinnels, McLaren Automotive programme director, is leading the engineering team. He said: ‘There is an extensive list of subjective and objective targets set for our prototype vehicles.
‘These XP Beta cars are already achieving outstanding results in many of the subjective areas, which includes ride quality, handling and many other aspects of dynamic performance.
‘The benchmark competitor vehicles we have tested become nervous and twitchy at higher speed, but the 12C feels more stable than anything I have driven. Because the bump rejection is so good, the ride is smooth and the steering is solid.’
Car Dealer spies have told us McLaren has got its hands on three Ferraris – a 360, F430 and one of the first 458 models for comparison testing.
Manufacturers have a gentlemen’s agreement to allow others to have access to new cars for comparison – it’s likely Ferrari has been given access to the MP4-12C or will get it very soon.
Our spies added they believe McLaren has fitted a 12C engine into a Ferrari 360 test mule for testing, but these rumours have not been confirmed.
The manufacturer has called a press conference for March 18 where it says it will reveal more details about the 12C and its other road cars.
by JAMES BAGGOTT