Filed under: Luxury Cars & Autos
Twenty years ago this spring what is considered by many to be the greatest supercar of all time was conceived. The McLaren F1 may not have the shear power and technological prowess of the more recent Bugatti Veyron, but the product of ex-formula one designer Gordon Murray's fertile mind was vastly more elegant from a pure engineering standpoint. While the Veyron throws in everything but the kitchen sink with four turbochargers on its V16 engine, all-wheel-drive and active aerodynamics, the F1 relied on a lightweight carbon fiber chassis and a highly tuned normally aspirated V12.
Engineering and design work began in March of 1990 and the first prototypes rolled out of the McLaren factory two years later. The first production example was delivered to a customer in late 1993. Customers soon decided they wanted to race the F1 and the factory prepared five cars for the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans. Aside from a front splitter, rear wing, and requisite racing safety gear, the F1 GTR was almost stock and the engine was actually restricted compared to the road version. Those five cars finished 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th first time out.
Ultimately, McLaren built 100 F1s including 72 for the street and 28 race cars along with six prototypes. Of those 21 returned to the factory last month for a celebration to mark 20 years as well as the launch of the new MP4-12C.
Gallery: McLaren F1 20th Anniversary