Tony O'Kane | Aug 28, 2008

The launch of McLaren's upcoming P11 supercar has apparently been delayed to give newly-hired Chief of Design Frank Stephenson a chance to wave his magic stylus over the company's first McLaren-badged road vehicle since the much-vaunted F1.

The P11 was meant to have been unveiled later this year, however with Stephenson contractually obliged by his former employer Fiat to endure several months of 'gardening leave' before setting up shop with McLaren (to prevent company secrets being leaked, etc), the redesign of the low-slung mid-engined coupe will have to wait until later this year before it can even begin.

That's set back McLaren's plans for the P11 by at least 12 months. This means we won't see it debut until sometime in late 2009 or early 2010, when the P11 was originally meant to go on sale.

As well as the coupe version of the P11, Stephenson is also expected to design an open-top variant as well as a P11 GTR for racing duty. While we have no doubt that he'll be able to produce a stunning design (he did, after all, have a hand in the Pininfarina-tweaked F430 and MC12), he won't be working carte blanche - the positioning of the 6.2-litre AMG-sourced V8, dual-clutch gearbox and all of the suspension hardpoints have already been determined and Stephenson will need to work around them.

[Autocar]

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