McLaren Time

The 2011 calendar is really beginning to heat up for McLaren.  The independent British manufacturer, which has mostly focused on racing until now, has just begun production on chassis number 01 of the MP4-12C supercar that it unveiled to much fanfare last year.  The 2-seat exotic carbon-fiber sportscar, which is powered by a 592 horsepower V-8, is expected to begin taking deliveries later this year at a price of about $276,000.

But that’s not all.  To usher in the MP4-12C, McLaren announced late last year that it would develop a race-ready version of the car intended for GT3 class competition, where it will compete against the likes of specially prepared Lambo Gallardos, Dodge Vipers, Ferrari F430s and Chevy Corvettes.  Should be an interesting challenge for the company that took the world (and the 24 Hours of Le Mans) by storm 15 years ago with the revered F1 supercar.

And proving that the new face of the repositioned brand is about style as much as substance, McLaren announced two weeks ago that it has collaborated with longtime sponsor TAG Heuer to create a limited edition flyback chronograph that will be exclusively available though McLaren’s sales network, an unusual distribution approach for a partnership between an automotive manufacturer and a watch maker.  Featuring a titanium case and an alcantara wriststrap, the MP4-12C Chronograph is aesthetically influenced by the car, as demonstrated by its carbon dial and super-luminescent orange hands.  The chronograph will be limited to 1,000 pieces, which, perhaps not so coincidentally, is exactly the number of cars McLaren plans to produce per year.