Watch the McLaren F1's original record-setting top-speed run

This is original footage from 1998.

When it was released in the early 1990s, the McLaren F1 was a car so full of superlatives that, even today, few cars come close to matching it. The F1 is arguably the greatest car that was or ever will be built, and it's unlikely we'll ever see another road-going car with as much raw and unfettered power and presence as the F1. The most famous metric of all, the car's official top speed of 240.1 mph, was achieved in 1998, deep in the forests of Germany with a former McLaren driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner behind the wheel.

McLaren just released previously unseen footage of the run, which took place at the Ehra-Lessien proving ground. Aside from watching a digital speedometer slowly creep up to 391 km/h, the best part is the commentary from driver Andy Wallace. You'll have to watch the video for yourself, but it's wonderful hearing Wallace's mixture of excitement and fear as the car creeps ever fast. Pay particularly close attention to his hands, as even the mighty McLaren can't stay cool and calm at 220-plus mph. The car actually hits 242.9 mph in one run, but records take the average of two runs in opposite directions.

The team's excitement can be felt through the screen, but the video leaves you with a twinge of sadness knowing that something so pure, so focused, and so wholly and completely uncompromised will likely never be seen again.

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