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Back in 1992, I spent a most interesting day with McLaren F1 project Technical Director, Gordon Murray, and Chief Designer, Peter Stevens, at McLaren’s headquarters in Woking, England. The Grand Prix season was at its height, so the Formula One racecar section was off limits, but that did not matter, as my visit was to see the $1 million road car carrying the F1 badge for McLaren. Firing up the 627bhp 6,064cc V12 today brings the memories flooding back to my day at McLaren, when we did the same thing in their workshop before hitting the road. That claim has since been tempered by a long list of challengers from Germany, Italy and even Sweden. In the end, only 100 McLaren F1s were made, 65 road cars, 5 LMs, 3 GTs and the rest were GTR racecars.
The McLaren F1 was launched into a flurry of interest from the press and car enthusiasts worldwide but nothing endorsed its credentials better than the 24 Hours of Le Mans victory in 1995 when the McLaren F1 finished 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th on its debut outing. While the separation between road going sportscars and race cars had been growing wider over the years, especially since the 1960s, the fact that the McLaren was conceived as a practical road car for three with a reasonable amount of bespoke luggage on board spoke volumes for its abilities. The McLaren F1 is about the length of the Porsche 911 of its day, but significantly wider to encompass three abreast seating. So rigorous was the weight paring schedule that wheel maker OZ Racing was asked to shave the 14kg (31 lb) weight of its aerospace grade magnesium alloy wheel as best as they could without losing strength in the wheel. Even the laminated glass with its significant compound curvature has an inner membrane that both heats and tints the glass.
The McLaren F1 is more functional in appearance and far from the ravishing beauty like the Lamborghini Diablo or the Jaguar XJR-15 of its era. On the other hand, when you analyse what is there, it is so clever, so purposeful and so good, it showcases the pure genius that makes Gordon Murray and Peter Stevens the best in the business.
When a car brakes heavily, the centre of pressure rushes forward, lightening the load on the rear and creating instability. This minimal movement of mass has helped the design of the suspension immensely and enabled it to be calibrated to avoid big geometry changes.
Power-to-weight ratio is everything however, and the McLaren F1 is 200kg lighter than the Pagani Zonda, so its ability to pile on speed at the flexing of your right toe is awesome. The sound this engine makes when you lay into the throttle has the hairs on the back of your neck instantly stand to attention as if barked at by a parade ground instructor.
And as the sound of the 12 throttles inhaling hard reaches your eardrums, the g force gives you a big tug, and then the horizon reeling experience that you see on Star Trek when the USS Enterprise goes into warp, begins. The gearshift is firm but precise, the unassisted steering heavier than you would like at low speeds. In isolation it is hard for anyone, even someone who regularly drives supercars, to fully appreciate the McLaren F1 with just a short drive on a track.


This proves the point that when Gordon Murray and Peter Stevens penned the McLaren F1 all those years ago, they were thinking about a car that could really be used everyday, not just a toy that would be taken out for a short blast on high days and holidays.
The McLaren F1 may have hit the ground running eight years before the turn of the 20th Century, but its concept and execution undoubtedly set the precedent for every major league supercar to see the light of day since. Since 1983, this second life as an international motoring photo-journalist has taken him around the world, testing and photographing exotic cars in places as far afield as Death Valley and Rovaniemi.
With an affinity for fast cars and speed, Ian has raced at national level in the UK and Far East. Thanks for the info, the writer though was only talking about production cars, prototypes excluded. The fact that over 20 of the 60 road cars have been crashed by their owners, and the stories I have heard about how these cars are to actually drive close to the limit tells a story of an absolutely terrible driving car. Joined the GTspirit Club yet?Be the first to know about upcoming events and get a unique look behind the scenes at GTspirit. December 19, 2013 by Sports Car Digest Leave a Comment A 1997 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail will headline the 2014 Gooding & Company Scottsdale Auction, scheduled for January 17-18 at the Scottsdale Fashion Square in Scottsdale, Arizona. David Gooding, President and founder of Gooding & Company, said, a€?We have a celebrated history of offering unique, rare to market McLaren cars.
McLaren F1 street cars rarely appear for public sale and competition models like chassis 021R are even more notable.
Back then, I was in awe of what was shaping up to be the fastest supercar in the world by far. This was underlined by the fact that the racecars were not all that different, having in fact almost the production motor.
As Gordon Murray explained to me in 1992, “The prime directive for the McLaren F1 project can be summed up in four words – small, slim, light and powerful. This also helps de-ice the glass seven times faster than average in cold weather while cutting ultra-violet light intrusion by a dramatic 85 percent.
Its outline is sharp, but the smallish size of the car means that the detailing tends to make it look a bit busy. On the McLaren, the pop-up rear spoiler takes on a 30-degree angle of attack to the horizontal during heavy braking that helps to keep the centre of pressure central, spreading the braking loads equally across the four wheels. On the face of it the suspension looks fairly conventional with double wishbones at each corner and a front anti-roll bar. However, thanks to exemplary matching with the dampers, the result is a firm but supple secondary ride with iron fisted control at speed. There is no substitute for cubic inches, and there is no forced aspirated motor in the world that comes close to the sound and throttle response of the mighty 6.1 litre normally aspirated V12.


But as the needle cracks on around the speedometer, the steering lightens up, becoming full of feel and sensation. The McLaren F1 has more dive, squat and roll under braking, acceleration and cornering than a modern supercar, so thank goodness for the rear wing that flips up to provide downforce over the rear axle under braking at speed. Owners I know who are lucky enough to have one in their private collections speak of it like an old friend rather than just another car. When you consider the size of the team and the budget required to build this first all carbon-fibre supercar and project it safely to 240mph, it seems small beer compared to the massive corporate effort required by Bugatti to mount its challenge. There is no doubt that Gordon Murray’s huge expertise as an F1 racecar designer and his relentless mission to make everything as light but as strong as possible is behind the success of this ground-breaking supercar.
Apart from working with magazines from a dozen continents, he has four books on cars in print and is working on a fifth. But in an ironical twist of fate, he was also once part of a team that achieved a Guinness Book of Records entry for the furthest distance travelled on a tank of diesel! During our Pebble Beach Auctions in 2013, Gooding & Company set a world auction record for the McLaren marque with the sale of a 1997 F1 for $8,470,000. The car offered at Gooding Scottsdale 2014 was the first GTR Longtail race winner with accolades including wins at Hockenheim and Helsinki, as well as several other podium finishes.
Only in 2004 did the record finally fall to first the Koenigsegg CCR and then the Bugatti Veyron in 2005. The motorsport tie-up between McLaren and Mercedes-Benz brought the F1 project to an end as Mercedes found it untenable to have McLaren building a supercar powered by a BMW engine.
Ideas that its designers thought would have mass market appeal in the near future included the miniaturization of a host of common automotive components from the transmission to the in-car entertainment and its unique front and rear suspension configurations. Rather, our objective was to create a shape that would be classic in its proportions to stand the test of time. They describe weekends away and even longer trips across Europe, something hard to do in rivals that have comparatively little luggage room and excessive girth for negotiating small city streets. All up, the McLaren F1 weighs just 1,138kg, 60 percent less than a Diablo or Testarossa of its period and a massive 750kg less than the Bugatti Veyron! The GTR Longtail is consigned from a significant private collection in its original factory-delivered form with iconic FINA livery. With limited owners from new, this GTR Longtail will arrive at auction having been restored by McLaren and maintained by Lanzante Ltd.



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09.02.2014 admin



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