For several years before his untimely death Bruce McLaren toyed with the idea of building a road car once his racing operations had become firmly established. In 1970 he had a Can Am McLaren M6 fitted with a GT body that both he and Gordon Coppock had worked on to perfect. After Bruces death the directors of McLaren decided to shelve the road car project although to further copies of the M6GT were built by Trojan who were responsible for building McLaren’s customer racing cars.
Twenty years later McLaren designer Gordon Murray convinced Ron Dennis to back his concept for the ultimate road car which Peter Stevens was engaged to complete the exterior styling. The McLaren F1 road car was launched in 1992 and in 1998 it set road car speed records of 231 mph with the rev limiter switched on and 243 with the limiter switched off.
At around the same time as the launch of the F1 a movement for racing GT cars was gathering pace and for the 1995 Season McLaren built 9 F1 GTR variants the first of which #01R, modified road car chassis #019 was loaned to Lanzante Motorsport who entered Yannick Dalmas, Masanori Sekiya and JJ Lehto into the 1995 Le Mans 24 hours under the Kokusai Kaihatsu Racing banner and improbably won as a result of superior reliability over the much faster Courage Porsche C34 prototype driven by “Brilliant” Bob Wolleck, Eric Hélary and Mario Andretti. The race winners covered just 298 laps the last time a Le Mans 24 hours had been won with less than 300 laps completed was 1952 to when Hermann Lang and Fritz Reiss drove their Mercedes Benz 300SL to victory with 277 laps completed.
For the 1996 season Mclaren built a further batch of nine cars with extended front and rear bodywork which was easier to remove than on the original ’95 F1 GTR, magnesium gearbox housing with stronger internals which resulted in a lighter car. Two of the ’95 Spec F1 GTR’s were similarly upgraded.
Today’s featured vehicle is the first of the ’96 F1 GTR’s chassis #10R which was used as a test development vehicle to replace the Le Mans winning #01R which had immediately been retired from competition for publicity purposes.
David Brabham used the car for a test session at Le Mans in 1996 where he recorded the 20th fastest time, but the car has never been raced.
When pop drummer Nick Mason bought #10R he had McLaren convert the car for road use as were several F1 GTR’s once their competition careers were over.
Mark Hales tested the 600hp BMW V12 powered #10R for Evo magazine and recorded a 0-60mph time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 240.1 mph.
In 1997 a further development of the F1 GTR featuring an even longer body, 10 examples of which were built. An over view of the racing results of the F1 GTR from 1995 to 2007 can be seen on this link.
Thanks for joining me on this “Testing The Beat” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !