McLaren Had To Build Three F1 GTRs Because One Was Too Expensive

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Ray Bellm ordered a McLaren F1 road car soon after the premier in 1992, but while he was racing Porsches, he realized an F1 race car could dominate everything. The problem for Ray is that McLaren wanted $1.5 million for a one-off race car.

Since Bellm didn't have that kind of money, McLaren head Ron Dennis agreed to build three cars instead if Ray found those customers. The deal was done, and the McLaren F1 GTR was born.

The 1995 cars were hardly more than stripped out road cars. They had the stock suspension components and steering racks, and while Bellm insisted that the GTRs had to remain easy to drive, comfortable for somebody as tall as 6'3" and cool enough for a 24-hour race, Gordon Murray's original design was so brilliant that they barely had to modify anything to end up with the fastest thing on the grid.


The F1 GTRs also had more power and more torque than any of their opponents thanks to BMW M's glorious V12.


While their relatively short wheelbase, tendency to roll and a bit of uncertainty under heavy braking made the McLarens quite a handful to drive, having the lowest center of gravity, a monster amount of torque out of the corners and the all important reliability gave them the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th position at Le Mans in 1995.

The rest is history, but as McLaren is gearing up for the anniversary celebrations, I'm sure we'll learn more about the time when supercars went racing.