McLaren F1 GTR – Turning the Legendary F1
The McLaren F1 GTR took the iconic 1990s supercar’s extreme performance into competitive motorsports with great success. Developed for GT and endurance racing, the F1 GTR won an overall victory at Le Mans in 1995, cementing the namesake McLaren’s racing legend. Its specially modified BMW V12 pumped out over 600hp, while the racing-optimized carbon fiber monocoque chassis delivered on the F1’s uncompromised engineering approach. The F1 GTR remains one of the most successful adaptations of a road car for track duty of all time.
McLaren F1 GTR Maximizing the Road Car’s Potential
McLaren built the Enzo-besting original F1 road car with minimal compromises. But its makers recognized the potential to extract even greater performance from the chassis and BMW 6.1L V12. The GTR program optimized the F1’s strengths for racing durability and speed. Weight reduction, competition aerodynamics, and suspension refinement channeled its performance into winning endurance races against purpose-built prototypes. The F1 GTR realized the full competition possibilities of the F1’s brilliant engineering.
More Power from Already Legendary V12
Modifications to the epic 6.1-liter 60-valve BMW S70/2 V12 increased displacement to 6.9 liters in GTR tune. New internals, racing fuel and reduced backpressure bumped output from 627 hp to over 600 hp at 7400 rpm. The wide torque band enabled stable power delivery and efficiency needed for 24-hour races. That mighty racing V12 catapulted the GTR up to 200+ mph on the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans. It became iconic in its own right powering the F1 legend to victory.
McLaren F1 GTR Optimized for Downforce and Grip
The racing development process also produced aggressive new aerodynamic elements to increase downforce and stability at the F1 GTR’s 200+ mph extremes. Flared fenders, adjustable carbon rear wing, expansive splitter, rear diffuser and flat undertray produced over 600kg at speed – adjustable based on the racetrack. Combined with racing slicks, the phenomenal aero grip let the F1 GTR set lap records while outpacing more powerful prototypes.
Superlative Race Car Engineering
The core strengths of Gordon Murray’s carbon fiber chassis transferred seamlessly to racing durability. Weighing just 1,062 kg dry, it provided an impossibly stiff, lightweight foundation for the GTR’s performance. Componentry like the brake calipers and wishbones were specially constructed from peculiar materials to withstand racing loads. The F1 GTR represented the pinnacle of 1990s racing engineering – a no-compromise road car optimized to conquer tracks worldwide.
First Overall Victory for McLaren at Le Mans
After runner-up finishes in previous attempts, 1995 finally brought McLaren’s quest for Le Mans glory to fruition. The Kokusai Kaihatsu Racing-entered GTR of Yannick Dalmas, JJ Lehto, and Masanori Sekiya conquered the field, covering 388 laps. The pace was blistering, but the quick yet economical BMW V12 ensured victory. The 24-hour marathon was a supreme achievement showcasing the F1 GTR’s all-around capabilities at the highest level.