The development of a new car is an extensive, years-long process that involves scores of mules, prototypes, crash test cars and more. And the three-seat, 1,035-horsepower McLaren Speedtail is a hell of a lot more complex than most cars. That’s why it’s on Albert here to make sure the Speedtail will be up to snuff in real-world conditions.
Albert is the Speedtail’s first full production-spec prototype, unveiled by McLaren today before it sets off to do real-world testing. And a lot is riding on Albert’s shoulders. Here’s what Ben Gulliver, McLaren’s head of vehicle development, has to say:
Albert will build on the invaluable work still being put in by earlier development cars, allowing us to sign-off vehicle attributes including chassis dynamics; brake performance; damper tuning; tires; NVH and aspects of ergonomics and comfort. With a huge amount achieved already, the McLaren Speedtail is well on the way to fulfilling its destiny as the greatest McLaren road car ever.
Very dramatic! But why “Albert”, you ask? Because that’s the name given to one of the Noble Motorsport Ultima GT3 chassis purchased by McLaren back in the day to serve as a development car for the original McLaren F1. Ultima Sports describes that mule (the other one was “Edward”) as packing a Chevrolet V8 during gearbox development to mimic the torque of the BMW-sourced V12 that would eventually be used in the production car. Edward itself used the BMW motor, too. They even got their own badges for the project.
So Albert is an important name for McLaren, and something that further cements the Speedtail as the true successor to the legendary F1. (No word yet on where Edward is.)
As we’ve noted before, the Speedtail will cost $2.27 million, packs a hybrid powertrain with over 1,000 horsepower, features flexible carbon fiber, will only yield 106 production examples which are all sold out already, and won’t exactly be street legal in America.
Still, it is a huge deal, and probably the most interesting and compelling exotic car I’ve seen in a generation or more. Good luck, Albert! We’re all counting on you.