In 1995 the McLaren F1 GTR dominated the 24 hours of Le Mans, beating out purpose-built prototype cars for a 1st overall victory. This feat has never been accomplished since by any road-car-based GT class car. And when I say McLaren “dominated” Le Mans that year, I mean they finished 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 13th positions overall. Not bad for a modified version of a road-going supercar, which was never initially intended to go racing.
With that huge victory, the folks at McLaren were inspired to give the F1’s racing their all. That meant the car needed to be lightened even further and optimized for racing duties. Aerodynamics were key, and they wound up elongating the F1’s shape into what became known as the “Longtail.” McLaren also managed to take another 135kg out of a car which was already absurdly lightweight. The F1 GTR Longtail was quite an accomplishment, no doubt, and went on to be quite successful in the 1997 season.
In order to compete in racing, McLaren had to build a road-going version of the Longtail, dubbed the “McLaren F1 GT.” Just three F1 GT’s were built, the green prototype (seen here), a red one, and a black one. The green prototype, “XP GT”, has been retained by McLaren themselves, while the other two F1 GTs currently sit in private collections.
McLaren was kind enough to let the world see XP GT at this year’s New York International Auto Show. For me it was a dream come true because I’ve been lusting over this very car since I was a kid. It simply is gorgeous in person.
For a deeper dive into the F1 GT, and every other McLaren model, check out the McLaren Website, they have some great information.
To see more of the F1 GT at NYIAS see the video below from our friends at NJExoticSpotters on YouTube: