I have to begin this by saying that I don’t think about the McLaren F1 much anymore. There was a time when it overwhelmed my daydreams, but as prices have gone stratospheric and all of its performance statistics have been eclipsed by modern technology, it’s just not relevant to my workaday life anymore. That is, until I saw video of this McLaren F1 with a Mitsubishi engine racing in an Austrian hillclimb today. My curiosity was piqued.
You McLaren stans will be glad to know that there are no actual McLaren parts on this racer, it uses a replica body, a tube frame chassis, off-the-shelf suspension, and a lot of race car parts. The kit is made by a company in Florida called DDR Motorsport, and obviously they don’t call it a McLaren, it’s a “Grullon” kit car. The kit body can fit over a variety of different custom chassis to support donor drivetrains from C5 Corvettes with a Boxster transmission, FWD Impala SS, or Toyota MR2 Turbo.
While the street versions of this kit look largely overwrought and not at all convincing, it makes for a really wild race car that could convince me from trackside if it weren’t for that oddball engine soundtrack.
This one, belonging to and raced by Marek Rybníček, is powered by a de-stroked 1.7-liter 4G63 Mitsubishi four-cylinder turbo engine mated to a Sadev sequential transmission. Instead of a bespoke tube frame chassis, Marek’s creation uses the carbon chassis from a Norma M20FC prototype with the DDR body draped over top. Allegedly it produces around 600 horsepower and weighs just 1653 pounds.
This event was effectively the car’s competition debut, where it was the third-fastest car with a roof, which is pretty promising for the thing as it progressively develops into a faster and more competitive hillclimber.
It might seem weird to normal car fanatics, but this Mclaren-shaped racer appeals more to me than an actual F1. Not only because it’s a fraction of the millions it would take to buy a real F1, but because it’s being raced as hard as possible, which is what the F1 was built to do in the first place. Go build an F1 replica, lick the stamp, and frickin’ send it. This is an inspiration.