The McLaren F1; a truly landmark achievement in motoring if ever there was one. The sheer mechanical magnificence of this hyper car colossus, unleashed upon an unsuspecting public back in 1992, left motoring nuts the world over in awe. The undisputed fastest car of its era, a title it held for seven long years, the F1 instantly became the must-have model or poster to adorn the shelves and walls of the bedrooms of a whole generation of future petrol-heads.
In scientific terms too, Gordon Murray’s masterpiece occupied the innovation stratosphere of its day. Reading much like a mobile periodic table of elements, production of the F1 opened the door to numerous never-before seen car manufacturing techniques and materials, with gold, titanium, magnesium and the now staple carbon-fibre monocoque chassis all central to its design genius. It’s precisely for this reason that many have always regarded the F1 as a creation perhaps as much as a decade ahead of its time; one of the greatest cars ever built, no less.
But why all this nostalgia? Simply put, the F1 name is on the verge of a comeback after a two decade hiatus. But surely, you cry, the anointed successor, McLaren’s P1 halo car, isn’t ready for retirement just yet! You’d be right. Far from topping the already earth-shattering performance of the P1, the Special Operations team in Woking is ready to take the unprecedented step of positioning the reborn F1 as the world’s first and fastest ‘hyper-GT’.
A McLaren bearing the signature F1 that isn’t geared towards outright performance? Yep, that’s about the size of it. What will purportedly be the most finely crafted and lavish road-going McLaren yet also looks set to lay claim to the title of fastest grand tourer in history, effectively creating a whole new sub-category of car. Mooted to use a modified version of McLaren’s twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V8 engine, the limited edition reimagined F1will pump out in excess of 700bhp. Even stripped of its racing stable mates’ electrical gadgetry, top speed should still exceed 200mph. This places the new GT in the British marque’s super series territory, potentially bettering such existing models as the 650S’ in terms of power to weight ratio.
Although not thought to be a retro model, the new F1 – whatever its eventual guise – will almost certainly doff its cap to its legendary 90s predecessor, with such iconic features as the three seat layout with central driving position and vertically opening butterfly doors likely to make a return. Inside the cabin, the proposed new machine will be styled as the most customisable McLaren ever produced, with endless bespoke options to be offed by SO designers. As a pure-bred cruising GT car, emphasis will fall essentially on premium comfort. As such, systems common to all McLaren road cars, particularly the Proactive Chassis Control wizardry, will be tweaked expressly to maximise ride comfort, in stark contrast to the hard-nosed performance-geared settings of its contemporaries.
As already mentioned, that doesn’t mean the new F1 GT will be sluggish; far from it. But it will be expensive. Eye-wateringly so. At a mooted £2 million, the world’s fastest GT will almost certainly become the world’s most expensive. But then, what does money matter if your last car was made partly from gold?
2018 is a likely release date for the second coming of an automotive messiah. In the meantime, this is a story that is bound to take up permanent residence in the back of every petrol-headed mind.