Here’s a debate that has been raging on for awhile now – with the current holy trinity line-up of Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918 Spyder, which one is the best? Most of us automotive enthusiasts were admittedly waiting for TG to pit the trio out on track, but the team went through strings of red tape that prevented that from happening.
That was way back in 2014. Today, we have Salomondrin successfully taking cars from private collections, then pitting the trio alongside extras like the Pagani Huayra and Bugatti Super Sport. And then we have Chris Harris who has pulled it off and managed to assemble the trio from each respective factory, for an insane shootout at the Portimao circuit.
We all know that the LaFerrari (1,585kg kerb weight) is the most powerful car in this line-up. The Ferrari’s 6.3 litre V12, coupled with the KERS electric motor makes a whopping 950 hp and 900 Nm. McLaren’s P1 (1,547kg kerb weight) is second most powerful here, with its 3.8 litre twin-turbo V8 with an electric motor makes a healthy 903 hp / 978Nm. The Porsche 918 (1,700kg kerb weight) makes the least power in the group; naturally aspirated 4.6 litre V8 along with two electric motors with a combined output of “just” 887 hp, but a massive 1,280 Nm of torque! In both the McLaren and Ferrari, power is sent to the rear rubbers, with the Porsche the only car here to have all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering.
Although the 918 is the heaviest of the three, Porsche offered buyers the option of the Weissach package, which shaves off some 60kgs via magnesium wheels, lighter brakes, ceramic wheel bearings and titanium bolts for its chassis.
If you know me, and I mean really know me, then you’ll also know that I have been rooting for the 918 since the very beginning. In this fantastic company, it stands somewhat as an underdog; even with more torque than the other two, the Porsche is bogged down by a lot of weight. Even when you tick the box marked “Weissach”, the car still weighs some 100kgs more than both Ferrari and McLaren.
But yes I’ve always rooted for the underdog and I can remember the exact moment I was awestruck with the Porsche: one particular TG video where Richard Hammond blitzed the 918 across the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, flames spitting from the top mounted exhausts, car sideways in an elegant drift. After that, it didn’t matter how many videos I watched of the LaFerrari or P1, and just how awesome they were. My mind had already latched on. You know how that is!
All three cars are undoubtedly fine works of art. But we all know that aesthetics can be a very individual thing; here, I prefer the 918. For me, it encapsulates a perfect balance between elegance and technology. The LaFerrari is beautiful too, aggressive front end, with its sculpted curves and vents. I’m undecided about the P1; I think it just looks mental. Somedays, I look at it and I think she’s gorgeous. Other times, I think it just looks weird. I don’t understand it, myself.
In Salomondrin’s video, the 918 was the quickest in the drag race shoot-out between the five hypercars (Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, Pagani Huayra, McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918), and also quickest around their test track. Chris Harris’ video was more balanced (since they attempted to use same or similar spec rubbers for the trio). The timings between all three cars were mere fractions from each other, but ask the drivers which one they would take home and you end up again with a non-conclusive response.
- McLaren P1 – 1.53:57 / 1.51:78 with Pirelli Trofeo R
- Porsche 918 – 1.53:98
- Ferrari LaFerrari – 1.54:25
About a year ago, I ran into Evo’s Jethro Bovingdon who was out on Sepang testing the Huracan Super Trofeo cars, had recently filmed and released an episode of evo track battle between the McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 at Anglesey Circuit.With factory fitted rubbers, the 918 just edged the P1 by two tenths of a second. But when the P1 was equipped with stickier Pirelli Trofeo Rs, it managed to shave off over a second from the 918’s timing.
Naturally, I asked him which he preferred… and he too was unable to give me a straight answer. In fact, I chanced upon an owner who has both the 918 and P1 in his garage; when asked the same question, he told me he liked both.
So at the end of the day, I don’t think there can truly be a definitive winner here. Clearly, this hypercar trio are all exceptionally gifted, all different and yet rewarding in their own ways. We already know that if I had to choose one, it would be the Porsche. What about you?