The McLaren MP4-12C is a comfortable consumer roadster with the soul of a race car, and it can hit speeds up to 207 miles per hour.
“Most high-performance cars are just race cars for the street, so they ride a little rough, whereas McLaren are proper road cars that have race car DNA, as opposed to the other way around,” Leno told reporters at the track, which hosted the British car company for a media day in advance of the upcoming Formula One United States Grand Prix in Austin in November. “It’s probably one of the few cars of this caliber that you can use as an every day car.”
Priced at just under a quarter-million dollars, it may not be a daily car for everyone. But the Tonight Show host, who has about 125 autos in his own collection, likes to use his McLaren 12C to get to work.
“It’s quite practical,” Leno said. “At least that’s what I tell my wife.”
Leno was at the track to shoot footage for Jay Leno’s Garage, the star’s online tribute to the world’s hottest new and vintage road machines.
The one-year-old, $450 million Circuit of the Americas is the nation’s first circuit built specifically for the glamorous, international Formula One races.
“A Formula one race is definitely a bucket list item and that is something we think every American needs to experience,” said circuit spokeswoman Julie Loignon. “Especially the way we do it in Texas.”
Leno, a motor sports aficionado who has driven on tracks all over the world, heaped praise on the Austin facility.
“This is really a great track,” he said. “It’s designed to be one of the best tracks in the world, and it is. Just the right number of corners and turns, so it’s exciting.”
Then again, it's hard to imagine not having fun when you’re in a car like the McLaren 12C, a lightning quick machine built not for the professionals, but for the rest of us - who all have a little need for speed.
“I’m not used to going that fast,” Leno said, “without a cop behind me.”