• May 26, 2010
McLaren F1 20th anniversary – Click above for high-res image gallery

When you think about all of the truly iconic supercars that have been produced throughout history, not many carry the same mystique and world-renowned praise as the McLaren F1. Exactly 20 years ago, a team of engineers and designers came together in an attempt to build the automaker's vision of "the finest sports car the world had ever seen." And even though the official F1 road car was not launched until May 1992, McLaren is celebrating 2010 as the 20th anniversary of the F1 project. After all, this car changed how the world thought about lightness, packaging and supercar design.

Over the course of four years, McLaren produced 64 F1, five F1 LM and three F1 GT road cars, along with 28 F1 GTR racers and six test prototypes. At the end of its lifespan in 1998, the F1 became the world's fastest production car, and while that title is now reserved for the almighty Bugatti Veyron, the McLaren still holds the record for fastest naturally aspirated road car. (Tricky, tricky!) Beyond that, the F1 garnered a healthy amount of respect for dominating Le Mans – these cars took first, third, fourth, fifth and thirteenth place at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as winning that year's GT1 championship.

McLaren Automotive celebrated the F1's 20th anniversary by inviting owners, past and present, to a dinner at the automaker's technology center in Woking, England, which included a display of 21 road and race F1s. Looking to the future, McLaren will begin production of the MP4-12C supercar, followed by an entire range of performance cars, all built in-house. Will any of these new creations be able to hold a candle to the iconic F1? Only time will tell, but for now, we raise our glass to the original McLaren F1. Three cheers, indeed.

Follow the jump to read more about the F1 and the 20th anniversary celebration in McLaren's press release.



[Source: McLaren Automotive]
Show full PR text
McLAREN AUTOMOTIVE CELEBRATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE LEGENDARY McLAREN F1
  • McLaren F1 is still the fastest normally aspirated production road car in the world.
  • McLaren F1 GTR secured McLaren's position as the only car manufacturer to win the Formula 1 World Championship, Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans 24 Hours
  • McLaren F1 was first production road car to use a full carbon fibre monocoque
  • 20 years of carbon pioneering behind McLaren's launch of the new MP4-12C in 2011
In 1988, McLaren took the decision to expand from Formula One and design and build "the finest sports car the world had ever seen". In March 1990 the team that was to create the F1 came together for the first time. In its 20th anniversary year, the McLaren F1 is considered by most people to be one of the greatest cars of all time. Its exclusivity, technical innovation, racing provenance, revolutionary packaging and extraordinary driving experience have made it an icon.

Just two years later, the McLaren F1 road car was launched to the world on 28th May 1992 in Monaco, with the first production car delivered to its proud owner in December 1993.

The F1 defines the McLaren road car DNA

McLaren is a carbon pioneer. The McLaren Formula 1 team was the first team in Formula 1 to use a carbon fibre chassis in 1981. Nine years on, these Formula 1 techniques were developed to create the carbon monocoque for the McLaren F1: the resulting structure weighed just 100kg whilst offering the highest levels of strength and safety. The bare carbon fibre passenger doors weighed just 7 kg each (which included the weight of the side intrusion beam).

The F1 defined the McLaren road car DNA: low weight, low polar moment of inertia, clever packaging, superb quality and innovative design, resulting in an outstanding driving experience.

The F1 bristles with innovative design. The central driving position, which ensures superb visibility and no compromise on control positions for the driver; the pannier side lockers providing unprecedented levels of luggage capacity in a car of this type; the patented suspension system to provide both control and ride quality.

The F1 was launched at a price of £540,000 in 1994, and over the course of the next four years 64 F1, 5 F1 LM and 3 F1 GT road cars were produced, together with 28 F1 GTR race cars. An additional six prototypes were produced.

In October 2008, a delivery mileage F1 was sold at auction for £2.53 million, underlining the F1's status as one of the great motoring icons.

Taking a road car to the track

In 1994, after pressure from owners, McLaren developed a racing version of the F1 road car to run in the FIA GT1 category in the 1995 season. Despite a design and development period of just 3 months, the F1 GTR swept all before it, winning not only the 1995 GT1 Championship, but also the 24 Heures du Mans on its debut. McLaren not only won, but dominated the rain-soaked endurance race, finishing in 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th places.

The Le Mans winning F1 GTR was piloted by J.J. Lehto, Yannick Dalmas and Masanori Sekiya. Lehto's performance through the night on a treacherous circuit has been hailed as one of the great racing performances of all time, taking up to 10 seconds a lap off the cars in front of him. The winning car is proudly displayed at the McLaren Technology Centre in exactly the condition that it finished Le Mans in 1995.

Thus the F1 GTR secured for McLaren a unique position in motor racing history, as the only manufacturer to win the Formula 1 World Championship, the Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours.

McLaren decided to celebrate the extraordinary result at Le Mans by creating 5 F1 LM road cars, one for each F1 that finished this most grueling of races. Launched in McLaren Orange, as used on Bruce McLaren's race cars the 1960s and 70s, and with a derestricted race engine, the LM is not only the most powerful of all F1 variants, but also the most valuable. Formula 1 fans will recognize this as the car which Lewis Hamilton has set his heart on owning.

In 1997, the final iteration of the F1 road car project was built. The F1 GT was built solely to fulfil the new homologation rules for the 1997 GTR race car, of which 10 examples were produced in the same year. Both the GT road car and the 1997 GTR race cars became known as the 'Longtail', because of the longer front and rear overhangs for improved downforce when racing. Although McLaren only had to build one car for homologation purposes, two more were built following requests from existing F1 owners.

In 1998, with a total of 106 of all variants built and its production run complete, the McLaren F1 went on to achieve its greatest feat outside competitive motorsport. McLaren development and race driver Andy Wallace took XP5, the fifth and final prototype F1 with some 45,000 hard test miles on the clock, to the Ehra-Lessien proving ground in Germany. It was here on 31st March 1998 that the howling V12 propelled him to an amazing 240.1mph. Over 12 years later, this remains a world record for a naturally aspirated production car.

Back to the F1 future

On 27th April 2010, McLaren Automotive celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the start of the F1 programme by inviting F1 owners past and present to a celebration dinner at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England. The following day, after an insight into McLaren Automotive's exciting plans for a future range of high performance sports cars, the owners were treated to a display of 21 McLaren F1 road and race cars, the largest number of F1 cars ever assembled in one place.

Ron Dennis, McLaren Automotive Executive Chairman, said:
"The F1 is a technological tour-de-force and a real triumph in terms of packaging and design. Whether endurance racing or on road, it is supremely fast, agile and yet comfortable. Its styling is enduring and will never fade. I enjoy driving mine more today than ever before because I find its technical purity highly satisfying; the F1 remains one of McLaren's proudest achievements."
With the launch of McLaren Automotive as a new car company announced in March 2010, the company begins production planning for an entire range of high performance sports, designed and built in-house by McLaren. The first in this range will be the MP4-12C.

The 12C shares much of the design philosophy that was applied to the McLaren F1. Starting with the new car's MonoCell, a one-piece carbon fibre chassis that is stiff, light and ensures occupant safety, every component has been designed to ensure the car is lightweight, nimble and able to deliver ultimate performance. When the 12C launches in 2011, it will be the first in the 'core' sports car sector to offer a carbon chassis, and the first road car ever with a one-piece, moulded carbon chassis.

From the outset, the 12C has been 'designed around the driver'. Outstanding aerodynamic efficiency and bespoke technologies including Proactive Chassis Control, Seamless Shift dual-clutch Gearbox (SSG), Brake Steer and the 12C's unique Airbrake feature in a car which has been developed using Formula 1 simulator technology. The new high performance sports car from McLaren will be sold initially through 35 retailers in 19 different countries around the world from Spring 2011.

McLaren's celebration of the 20th anniversary of the F1 will continue throughout the year.

McLaren enthusiasts will have the opportunity to see both the F1 and 12C together at this summer's Goodwood Festival of Speed, which takes place at the famous English motorsport venue from 2-4 July 2010.

Technical specifications of each McLaren F1 derivative are detailed below.

Model F1 Roadcar F1 GTR Racecar F1 LM Roadcar
Year of production 1993-98 1995 1996
Examples built 64 9 5
Engine BMW V12 BMW V12 BMW V12
Cubic Capacity 6064 cc 6064cc 6064cc
Engine Management TAG 3.12 Ignition/Injection TAG 3.12 Ignition/Injection TAG 3.12 Ignition/Injection
Power output (bhp) 627 600 680
Transmission Transverse 6-speed Limited Slip Differential Aluminium case transverse 6-speed, LSD Transverse 6-speed Racing Unit, LSD
Chassis Carbon fibre reinforced composite monocoque Carbon fibre reinforced composite monocoque Carbon fibre reinforced composite monocoque
Body Carbon fibre composite panels Carbon fibre composite panels Carbon fibre composite panels
Front Suspension Double wishbones, Ground Plane Sheer centre sub-frame light alloy damper/co-axial coil spring, anti-roll bar Double wishbones, light alloy damper/co-axial coil spring, anti-roll bar Double wishbones, light alloy damper/co-axial coil spring, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension Double wishbones, Inclined Axis Sheer mounting, light alloy damper/coaxle coil spring, toe-in/toe-out control links Double wishbones, light alloy damper/coaxle coil spring Double wishbones, light alloy damper/coaxle coil spring
Brakes F/R Outboard 13/12in ventilated discs Outboard 15/14in ventilated carbon discs Outboard 13/12in ventilated discs
Wheels: Diameter x Width F/R 17x9/17x11.5in 18x10.85/18x13in 18x10.85/18x13in
Tyres F/R Goodyear F1, Michelin SX-MXX3 Michelin Michelin SX-MXX3
Length 169in/4292mm 169in/4292mm 171.8in/4365mm
Width 71.6in/1820mm 71.6in/1820mm 71.6in/1820mm
Height 44.8in/1140mm 44.8in/1140mm 44.1in/1120mm
Wheelbase 107in/2718mm 107in/2718mm 107in/2718mm
Track F/R 61.7/58in / 1568/1472mm 61.3/58.6in /
1558/1488mm
61.8/57.6in /
1570/1464mm
Weight 2502lb/1140kg 2315lb/1050kg 2341lb/1062kg

Model F1 GTR Racecar F1 GT Roadcar F1 GTR Racecar
Year of production 1996 1997 1997
Examples built 9 3 10
Engine BMW V12 BMW V12 BMW V12
Cubic Capacity 6064 cc 6064cc 5990cc
Engine Management TAG 3.12 Ignition/Injection TAG 3.12 Ignition/Injection TAG 3.12 Ignition/Injection
Power output (bhp) 600 627 600
Transmission Magnesium case transverse 6-speed Limited Slip Differential Transverse 6-speed, Limited Slip Differential Magnesium case transverse 6-speed
Chassis Carbon fibre reinforced composite monocoque Carbon fibre reinforced composite monocoque Carbon fibre reinforced composite monocoque
Body Carbon fibre composite panels Carbon fibre composite panels Carbon fibre composite panels
Front Suspension Double wishbones, light alloy damper/coaxle coil spring, anti-roll bar Double wishbones, Ground Plane Sheer centre sub-frame light alloy damper/co-axial coil spring, anti-roll bar Double wishbones, light alloy damper/co-axial coil spring, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension Double wishbones, light alloy damper/co-axial coil spring Double wishbones, Inclined Axis Sheer mounting, light alloy damper/co-axial coil spring, toe-in/toe-out control links Double wishbones, light alloy damper/co-axial coil spring
Brakes F/R Outboard 15/14in ventilated carbon discs Outboard 13/12in ventilated discs Outboard 15/14in ventilated carbon discs
Wheels: Diameter x Width F/R 18x10.85/18x13in 18x10.85/18x13in 18x10.85/18x13in
Tyres F/R Michelin Michelin Michelin
Length 172in/4367mm 194in/4928mm 194.2in/4933mm
Width 74.8in/1900mm 76.4in/1940mm 75.6in/1920mm
Height 42.9in/1090mm 47.2in/1200mm 47.2in/1200mm
Wheelbase 107in/2718mm 107in/2718mm 107.2in/2723mm
Track F/R 61.3/58.6in / 1558/1488mm 63.3/62.3in /
1620/1582mm
63.7/62.3in /
1617/1582mm
Weight 2231lb/1012kg 2469lb/1120kg 2017lb/915kg


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      To me still the best super car of all time, this car as well as the Lamborghini Countach made me Love cars. 3 seats with the driver in the middle, engine bay lined with gold, butterfly doors, and a exhust so loud passengers need to wear noise cancelling head phones, They dont make them like this any more. All cars bow to the F1
      • 4 Years Ago
      Where can I get some hi-res wallpaper sized photos? Photo #2 would be a great one!
        • 4 Years Ago
        The large size is not large enough. I don't want to stretch it for my wallpaper, it will look all fuzzy and soft.
      • 4 Years Ago
      man...that mclaren looks like its melting into the ground. lol
        • 4 Years Ago
        now that you mention it, lol yes it does..

        my first thought was..wow, that's the most aerodynamic looking vehicle I've ever seen.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That song by "The Lonely Island" (and I don't mean, "I'm on a Boat") pretty much sums up how I feel about these cars! Especially that one in the Gulf livery. OMG!!!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pXfHLUlZf4
      • 4 Years Ago
      To the author. The SSC Aero is the fastest production car in the world, not the Veyron. It's disappointing that a blog about cars couldn't even get that right.


      As far as the F1 is concerned....man that's a beautiful car. I would own that over any car in existence if I had the choice.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Still the one and only greatest supercar.
      • 4 Years Ago
      To me the greatest car ever made. This is the car that got me into loving cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        +1 me too!
        Thank you need for speed II
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'll rather busy, but I'll try to attend the owner's event.






      LOL
      • 4 Years Ago
      That orange F1 LM is definitely one of my all time favorite cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I know the MP4-12C is not the true follow up to the F1, but I feel like now that are making their own engines it is time to develop the next generation of F1 cars. Probably by the time the it is ready for production, the economy might be strong enough to have 50 units sold a year for 5-6 years.

      The MP4 will be a classic, but next generation F1 made with the same focus on saving weight, not trying to be touring car /street legal racer, and not using too many driver aids would be awesome.
      • 4 Years Ago
      20 years old and still looks like new model
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just one correction:

      The article said that the Veyron was the fastest car in the world. Actually that honor goes to the SSC Ultimate Aero. Furthermore, the Veyron never was officially recognized as the fastest car in the world by Guiness World Records because VW/Bugatti never fulfilled the criteria for the record. The record went from the Koenigsegg CCR (which beat the F1) to the SSC.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @heavygear For the record to be valid they are required to use pump gas. I dont know how many SSC Ultimate Aero they made so far but they made 24 in 2006-2007.
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