The McLaren P1 Was Inspired by a Fish
What do you get when you mix a sailfish and a supercar? You get a McLaren P1. No, seriously. According to BBC, McLaren design director Frank Stephenson got most of his inspiration for cars like the P1 from the sleek and streamlined sailfish. If you didn’t know, the sailfish is the fastest swimming fish in the ocean, reaching speeds of up to 68 mph. For Stephenson and McLaren engineers, they wanted to figure out how to bring that ultra-sleek and streamlined fish to the road. In order to do that, he somehow had to find a way to bring a sailfish back to London. PHOTOS: See More of the 2014 McLaren P1
While in Miami, Stephenson came across a fisherman who had just pulled up a sailfish onto his boat. He bought the fish, sent it downtown to get stuffed, and had it shipped to the McLaren aerodynamics lab in Surrey. There, the team would scan the stuffed fish, and figure out what makes it the fastest swimming thing alive.
What engineers found was that the actual scales of the fish propelled water over its body at high speeds. That led them to replicate the scales of the fish inside the engine ducts and increase airflow into the engine. Those scale-like features created a 17 percent increase of air feeding into the engine, improving combustion and cooling.
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Designers even used the sailfish’s body as inspiration to create a more streamlined rear design. And thanks to Mr. Sailfish's contribution to McLaren engineering, he has a permanent home at the aerodynamics lab wearing McLaren's iconic F1 livery.
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Photo Credit: BBC