The next F1: McLaren plans replacement for supercar  

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Formula One powerhouse McLaren secretly has begun work on a replacement for its legendary F1 supercar, while it also gears up to become a mainstream sports-car maker.

McLaren's Technology Center in Woking, England, has built some 2,000 McLaren SLR supercars a year for Mercedes-Benz, but McLaren boss Ron Dennis reportedly has his sights set on producing 1,000 of its upcoming Ferrari F430-fighting P11s a year starting in 2011. The number, Dennis said, will rise to 4,000 cars by mid-decade as future models such as the Porsche 911-challenging P8 come on line.

At the top of those future models, according to McLaren Automotive Design director Frank Stephenson, will be an all-new version of the F1, the 240-mph exotic that rewrote the supercar rules when it arrived in 1992.

In an informal interview at the Geneva motor show, Stephenson said he is sketching ideas to replace the legendary Peter Stevens-styled F1. So, while spy photographers have been busy snapping pictures of P11 prototypes, Stephenson has moved on to the challenge of replacing one of the most revered cars in automotive history.

"For the F1 replacement, there are not the restrictions on us, like with P11," Stephenson said. "I am looking at a clean sheet of paper for the F1 replacement, and we are still trying to see what directions we want it to go in, in terms of its design.
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