The Oxford Dictionary says that in order to drive, you must "operate and control the direction and speed of a motor vehicle." So on a technicality, I just drove a McLaren F1 GTR Long Tail.
Goodwood's Andy Craig is the greatest man in the universe. While I was admiring the sixteen F1 GTRs they have lined up here, he told me there's a job I need to take care of immediately.
We had to push #R24, the '98 British GT Champion EMI car from the pits to the studio where they shoot all the Goodwood Greats photos. Not only did I escape the pushing part; I did so by steering and braking in the middle. Doing over 2 mph never felt so good.
Some might say the Long Tails aren't the prettiest F1s, with their weird side extensions and changed proportions.
I say form follows function. This is a full-on race car that came 4th at Le Mans in 1998, and that alone makes it beautiful. The EMI livery isn't half bad either.
When pushed by two adults, the way this thing accelerates from zero to 2mph is beyond belief. GTR's are very light for their size thanks to all that carbon fiber, and it really shows.
Unfortunately, the brakes didn't get the chance to warm up properly, but even with that handicap, they stopped the car with confidence in front of a steep ramp while providing plenty of feedback through the pedal.
Would I hit Le Mans with them? No question about it.
The Long Tails got beefed up suspensions in 1997 due to the additional downforce on the rear, but for a race car, they ride bumps very well. No wonder one is already registered as a road car, with the second being converted as we speak!
You can't be competitive in endurance racing with a poorly handling car, now can you?
The F1 GTR's steering is very direct and surprisingly light. You can turn it with one hand. The turning radius is far from ideal, but if you want a London Cab, get a London Cab.
Neutral feels very neutral in the GTR.
The gearbox itself is an accurate six-speed sequential with the greatest shifter you've ever seen. Can't ask for more.
It has enough things to keep occupied. No touchscreens and Apple CarPlay.
It's a BMW M V12 with race exhausts wrapped in carbon fiber. The party only stops when you run out of gas or turn into a fireball.
$12+ million might feel like a lot, but look at all the attention you get for your money. Can't put a price on class.
Photo Credit: Matt Wise/Goodwood and Máté Petrány/Jalopnik. Massive H/T to Andy!
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