CAN you believe it’s 25 years since the McLaren F1 wowed the world with its supercar looks and mind-boggling performance?
To celebrate, McLaren has released something special: rare, never-before-seen footage of the three-seater opening the throttle wide on its BMW-sourced, mid-mounted 468kW 6.1-litre V12 on its way to becoming the world’s fastest production car - a title it held for more than a decade.
The video, released overnight, shows in detail how Le Mans-winning pilot Andy Wallace worked up to his incredible record-breaking 386.4km/h top speed run.
Designed by Gordon Murray and Peter Stevens, only 64 road-going versions of the carbonfibre-shelled McLaren F1s were built between 1993-98, and the 1+2 seater still holds the title as the world’s most powerful naturally aspirated road car. It originally sold for $US815,000; today, the cars are worth about $15 million.
McLaren’s 25-year celebration of the F1 also heralds the dawn of the original car’s successor, the BP23. Tipped to appear at March’s Geneva motor show, the BP23 hypercar – the “BP” stands for “bespoke project, the “2” denotes it’s the second car the specialist McLaren team called MSO has worked on, and the “3” refers to the three-seat layout that will mark it as a true modern-day F1.
McLaren has announced it will build 106 of the BP23s – it counts a number of prototypes, including a longtail, and 28 GTR-badged racecars across the F1’s five-year production lifespan – at a cost expected to tip beyond $2 million each.
McLaren said the reborn hypercar would “borrow” the F1’s three-seat layout and central driving position, with the car’s three occupants “housed in a streamlined, shrink-wrapped carbon fibre body of great elegance”.
“A hybrid powertrain will make it one of the most powerful McLarens yet created but the car will also deliver the highest levels of refinement, enabling significant journeys to be undertaken with up to three people aboard,” it said.
The carmaker is yet to say when the first deliveries of the hypercar are due.