1997 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail #028R

It may be a bit of stretch to call a McLaren F1 "priceless", but finding an owner willing to part with his can be a challenge for even the most determined (and cash-rich) collector. But just such an opportunity is coming around the corner at Bonhams' upcoming auction at the Quail Lodge in August. While every McLaren F1 is a rare bird indeed, this one is even more so.

Even more extreme than the road-going supercar on which it was based, the McLaren F1 GTR emerged as a dominant force in endurance racing in the late 1990s. The F1 GTR proved so successful, in fact, that despite being categorized in the GT classes of production-based racers, it eclipsed the purpose-built prototypes to claim overall victory at the 2005 24 Hours of Le Mans.

All told, McLaren only built 28 examples of the F1 GTR – of which only ten were the aerodynamically-optimized Longtail versions – and this was the very last of them. Built in 1997, chassis 028R contested the FIA GT Championship at the Nurburgring, the A1-Ring, Donington, Spa, Mugello, Sebring, Laguna Seca and Suzuka.

Decked out in Gulf and Davidoff race livery, it'll go to the top bidder at The Quail, but we dare not venture a guess as to how much he or she will have to pay for the privilege – but the last time this car went up for sale, the asking price was nearly $4 million. Feel free to read more about the car in the press release below.
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10 April 2012

LEGENDARY GULF TEAM DAVIDOFF MCLAREN F1 GTR TO HEADLINE BONHAMS' QUAIL LODGE SALE
Consignments now invited for the 15th annual 2012 motoring auction.


San Francisco – This year, for its Quail Lodge Sale, Bonhams is thrilled to present an absolute icon of modern-era sports car racing: an ex-GTC Gulf Team Davidoff 1997 McLaren F1 GTR 'Longtail' FIA GT Endurance Racing Coupe. (Image attached.)

The McLaren F1 GTR design is from that pantheon of victors, including the legendary Ford GT40 and Porsche 917K, to wear Gulf Oil's charismatic pale-blue and orange team livery.

The 20th Century's ultimate motoring icon, the McLaren F1 not only earned its place amongst such exalted company on genuine merit, but also appears on most aficionados' top-ten list of the greatest sports cars ever built.

This particular example, chassis '028R', was the 28th and last McLaren F1 GTR produced by the British McLaren Cars factory in Woking, Surrey. It is the last of that final year's batch of only ten highly developed 'Longtail' cars. These definingly beautiful, ultra-modern competition coupes – with their unique centerline driving position and super-sophisticated all-composite structure – were the ultimate development of McLaren's entire Le Mans-winning F1 GTR family. Indeed, they had to be to resist the tailor-made circuit-racing projectiles then unleashed by the AMG Mercedes-Benz operation.

In 1997 '028R' contested FIA GT Championship 4-hour races at the Nurburgring, Spa-Francorchamps, Austria's A1-Ring, Donington Park and Mugello, plus the Sebring and Laguna Seca 3-hours events and the Suzuka 1,000 kms. Driven in these races by Andrew Gilbert-Scott, Geoff Lees, Anders Olofsson and John Neilsen, '028R' finished sixth at Suzuka and Laguna Seca, seventh at Donington and tenth at Sebring.

As the last of this rarefied and now much coveted breed, the McLaren F1 GTR 'Longtail' '028R' embodies all the lessons learned during that highly successful period. In short, this Gordon Murray-designed beauty is today one of the finest and most exclusive and charismatic racing coupes available anywhere in the world.

"We are delighted to have been appointed by an international collector to represent this breathtaking piece of competition machinery," says Mark Osborne, Head of Motoring at Bonhams. "Racing legends like the McLaren F1 GTR rarely if ever appear at auction and Bonhams' appointment speaks volumes about our leadership in this sector of the market."

This year Bonhams is very excited to present its offerings in a new, larger venue on the same Quail Lodge grounds in Carmel Valley. This new location – on the lawns at the western end of the property – provides spacious plein air viewing against the backdrop of the stunning wooded highlands. This is a much more open and accessible site and, while providing greater space on preview and auction days as two key aims behind this move, will also enable our clients to park with ease right at the sale.

Bonhams is currently accepting consignments of rare and pedigree motorcars of all vintages to go alongside the McLaren F1. Interested sellers may e-mail usacars@bonhams.com or contact one of the following motorcar experts:
Mark Osborne, San Francisco: 415-391-4000; mark.osborne@bonhams.com
Rupert Banner, New York: 212-461-6515; rupert.banner@bonhams.com
David Swig, West Coast: 415-503-3285; david.swig@bonhams.com

The 2012 Bonhams Auction of Exceptional Motorcars will take place Thursday and Friday, August 16th and 17th at Quail Lodge in Carmel, California.