But he isn’t talking about the F1’s central seating position. More about how a road car could win Le Mans in front of the prototypes at first try in 1995. It’s a good story.
Engineering genius and king of colorful shirts Gordon Murray went to work for McLaren after spending 17 years at Brabham building F1 cars. He only signed to Woking for three years, but when Ron Dennis decided to expand the company and build a road car somewhere around 1988, things changed.
Murray had the opportunity to start a factory with a clean sheet, put together a brand new team and build a road car from the ground up, the way he wanted. And although he tried not to come up with a race car in the end, having a Kenwood CD player, air-conditioning and some luggage space didn’t change the fact that the F1 was pretty much track-ready from day one.
It was a ground effect car with perfect weight distribusion and more than 600 hp on tap, so when Ray Bellm wanted to race it, they just put a cage in it and a big wing at the back for a bit of aero.
Although the F1 GTR was restricted to 600hp, JJ kept it together in the rain at night, they won, and the rest is history.
Those five lucky individuals who could buy an F1 LM after the race had to go for the orange paint, but Murray is right: They should have built more. In fact, they should keep building F1 LMs as we speak.
I guess we’ll have to settle for the new TVRs...
Photo credit: McLaren
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