The McLaren F1, a two-door rear-wheel drive coupe, was not only the fastest supercar, it was also an innovative car thanks to its talented creator Gordon Murray.
The McLaren F1 was produced from 1992 to 1998. A total of 106 cars were produced, 65 of them were intended for public roads (F1), five were Le Mans prototypes (LM), three exclusive (GT), 5 were XP, 28 racing versions (GTR) and 1 were XP LM.
Murray was no stranger to motorsport fans. Before he started building the McLaren F1, he was already a renowned developer of Formula 1 cars. He had Brabham BT46, Brabham BT55, and the most successful of them: McLaren MP4-4, which allowed Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost to win 15 of 16 races.
Gordon Murray was not constrained by the traditional approach to building cars, and he came up with a three-seater supercar in which the driver sat in the center and two passenger seats were located in the back. This gave a number of advantages: the driver had a good view, thanks to this it was possible to shift the fuel tank slightly forward to obtain an optimal balance. But this solution also had disadvantages: difficult access to the driver’s seat, which was partly solved by doors such as “butterfly wing”.
Perhaps the McLaren F1 was not as handsome as the Ferrari F50, but the latter suffered a “technical defeat” without taking part in any race, because even the F50 GT modification was inferior to the McLaren F1 in terms of technical characteristics.
Another innovation in the McLaren F1 was the use of carbon fiber not only for the body, but also for the chassis of the car. Yes, it was expensive, but it was worth it. The weight of the McLaren F1 has also been reduced with aluminum alloy wishbones and Brembo brakes with aluminum calipers.
Its 17-inch wheels were made of magnesium and the weight, thus, was brought to 1138 kg. For a road car, the McLaren F1 had a very low ground clearance – only 120 mm. But you have to pay for everything. In terms of its dynamic characteristics, the McLaren F1 did not leave any chance for the competitors to win.
When developing the McLaren F1, attention was paid to even trivial things. For example, to protect the carbon body from heat, the engine compartment, along with the lid, was covered with a film of pure gold – the best reflector of infrared radiation.
Some of the details were titanium, the seats were of the finest carbon fiber. They were not adjustable, and were made individually for each.
And with all that, Gordon Murray insisted that the McLaren F1 is a practical, expensive car, so he did not sacrifice air conditioning, power windows and the Kenwood audio system designed specifically for the McLaren F1.
McLaren F1 differs from modern supercars not only by higher power per weight unit, but also by a low aerodynamic drag coefficient – only 0.32, which, together with a powerful engine, made it possible to surpass the world speed record.
McLaren F1 Specifications
Under the hood of the McLaren F1 is a 6.1 liter engine. power of 627 hp, with a maximum torque of 479 Nm at 5600 rpm. BMW AG has kindly agreed to modify the production V12 engine from the BMW 750i. And the result is a naturally aspirated engine that could only be dreamed of.
Its power distribution is 103 hp. per 1 liter, it uses advanced technologies of that time: adjusting the intake and exhaust valves (Bi-Vanos), Nikasil coating on the cylinder surface, the fuel compression ratio is 11.0: 1.
No transmission could withstand such an engine, so a 6-speed transmission with a limited slip differential was specially made for it. But it was uncomfortable, often broke and did not allow the engine’s potential to be shown in all its glory, and it was huge.
The maximum speed of the McLaren F1 reaches 372 km / h. And without the rev limiter, and all 386 km / h, which was proven on the Volkswagen test track in 1998. The McLaren F1 road car overtook even F1 cars in speed.
Acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h. takes a McLaren F1 just 3.2 seconds. The Bugatti Veyron broke this record only 12 years later. But the McLaren F1 did not have all-wheel drive and such quality tires.
But not everything in the history of McLaren F1 has been so smooth. Half of the four prototypes crashed during testing, a testament to the car’s wild, unbridled nature. The same Ferrari F50 is much more stable in corners. The rear tires in the size 315 / 45ZR17 for the McLaren F1 were not enough to compensate for the oversteer.
There were no electronic assistants in the McLaren F1 in the form of ABS, traction control and stability control. You had to rely only on your skill when driving, and the McLaren F1 was only for highly experienced drivers. To minimize weight, the McLaren F1 didn’t even have power steering and vacuum brake boosters. Nonetheless, the McLaren F1 is still the finest supercar ever in the world.
For racing, a racing version of the McLaren F1 GTR was built, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995. In honor of which, at the end of 1995, a limited edition McLaren F1 LM was released with an even more powerful engine: 680 hp.
Don’t forget about the victories of the F1 GTR in GT auto racing (road cars on the track). In 1995, the McLaren F1 GTR surpassed the bi-turbocharged Porsche 911 and Ferrari F40 in the competition, and in 1996, on a 100 kg lighter McLaren F1 GTR with a modernized suspension and carbon brakes, it managed to take the lead in the first 2 stages of the BPR. What other car can boast such versatility?
Yes, Bugatti and Koenigsegg may be making fast cars right now, but they never came close to the greatness of the McLaren F1. However, unlike the latter, McLaren F1 did not enjoy the commercial success it deserved.
Priced at £ 600,000, the McLaren F1 never made a profit. Moreover, this project only brought huge expenses, and instead of the 300 planned cars, almost three times less were assembled. Today the price of the McLaren F1 can be significantly higher than the original, because the big is seen from a distance.
Video McLaren F1
McLaren F1 vs. Bugatti Veyron in Top Gear.