McLaren celebrates 20th anniversary of the F1
To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the legendary McLaren F1 road and race car, McLaren Automotive recently brought together the largest number of F1 cars ever assembled in one place, 21 in total, at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England.
F1 owners from around the world were invited to the event, which included an insight into the company’s plans for a future range of sports cars. The first of these, the MP4-12C, goes on sale in the Middle East in 2011.
The F1 story began in 1988, when McLaren took the decision to expand from Formula 1 and build “the finest sports car the world had ever seen.” In March 1990, the team that was to create the F1 came together for the first time. Two years later, the McLaren F1 road car was launched to the world on May 28, 1992 in Monaco, with the first production car delivered to its proud owner in December 1993.
The F1 was launched at a price of £540,000 in 1994. However, in October 2008, a delivery mileage F1 was sold at auction for £2.53 million.
The McLaren Formula 1 team was the first team in the sport to use a carbon-fibre chassis in 1981. Nine years later, these Formula 1 techniques were developed to create the carbon monocoque for the McLaren F1. The resulting structure weighed just 100 kg whilst offering the highest levels of strength and safety.
In 1994, McLaren also developed a racing version of the F1 road car to run in the FIA GT1 category in the 1995 season. The car won not only the 1995 GT1 Championship, but also the 24 Heures du Mans on its debut. To mark that win McLaren decided to create five F1 LM road cars. The LM is not only the most powerful of all F1 variants, but also the most valuable.
In 1998, with a total of 106 of all variants built and its production run complete, the McLaren F1 went on to achieve its greatest feat outside competitive motorsport. The XP5, the fifth and final prototype F1, was taken to the Ehra-Lessien proving ground in Germany, and on March 31, 1998, its BMW V12 propelled the car to an amazing 240.1 mph. Over 12 years later, this remains a world record for a naturally aspirated production car.
Now, as a new car company announced in March 2010, McLaren Automotive has begun production planning for an entire range of high-performance sports cars, designed and built in-house by McLaren, the first of which will be the MP4-12C. The company will be represented throughout the region through a retail network in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.