This McLaren F1 might be the greatest of all of the F1s that the company ever built. Or at least one of the two best. That’s because it’s one of just two that the factory rebuilt into LM spec. And it’s going up for auction next month.
The F1 was designed by legendary Formula 1 car designer Gordon Murray. In 1992, when production started, this was even more of a leap forward over the existing supercars than the Bugatti Veyron was when it arrived.
It was a virtually no-compromise exercise in building a quick road car. It was the first production car to use a carbon fibre monocoque chassis. Just like a Formula 1 car. It even had a front seat mounted in the centre. The passengers sit behind you and to the side.
Just 106 examples of the F1 were built. That’s 64 for the road, 28 F1 GTR race cars, five F1 LMs, and a pair of F1 GTs. Plus a few prototypes, of course.
The five LM cars, built in 1995, were to honour the five GTRs that raced the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year. Winning the race overall. All five were finished in papaya orange, a tribute to company founder Bruce McLaren. They got 60 kg of weight savings and the engine from the race car. Except that they made even more power than the racer since they didn’t get the series-mandated restrictors.
The 6.1L BMW V12 made 680 hp and 520 lb-ft of torque. The car also had the cooling of the racers and that massive rear wing.
But this isn’t one of those five.
Instead, it’s even more special.
After the full run of the F1 finished, McLaren brought two cars back to the shop to convert them from standard to LM spec.
This is one of those two. First built in 1994, it was originally blue and was sold in Japan. A collector from Germany bought it in 1999, and in 2000, sent it back to McLaren for the upgrades.
It got the 680hp engine; the High-Downforce Kit new nose and massive rear wing; two more radiators and a trans cooler, plus a new exhaust; new headlights, a new steering wheel, and even an audio system upgrade.
The suspension was swapped to race-spec but then set to its softest setting to make it streetable. It also got 18-inch GTR wheels.
The exterior paint was changed to the current platinum silver, and the interior was retrimmed in cream leather with beige and brown Alcantara and cream Wilton carpets. So it’s an LM, but not really. McLaren would probably call it better since they’re always working to improve cars.
Believe it or not, this car gets driven. Just under 21,500 km on the odometer. Which means it’s seen the fuel cell replaced every 1,300 or so kilometres. Ouch.
The other LM conversion fetched US $13.75m at auction back in 2015. This one is expected to bring in even more. Somewhere around US $21m when it sells at RM Sotheby’s Monterey Car Week sale next month.