1997 McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ to be auctioned at Quail Lodge event

Article by Christian A., on April 18, 2012

Bonhams will be auctioning off the ex-GTC Gulf Team Davidoff 1997 McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ FIA GT Endurance Racing Coupe at its Quail Lodge event this August. This is bound to be interesting since the McLaren F1 is one of the most expensive cars ever produced and it is currently the fastest production car too.

And even if you had the money, the street versions are rarely offered for sale while the race cars are even more uncommonly offered. What’s actually being auctioned is a McLaren with chassis number 028R, which makes it the last McLaren F1 GTR assembled in McLaren’s Woking, Surrey factory. Furthermore, Chassis 028R is just one of 10 ‘Longtail’ cars produced that year.

During the year 1997, the Gulf Team Davidoff McLaren F1 entered FIA GT Championship four-hour races at the Nurburgring, Spa-Francorchamps, Austria’s A1-Ring, Donington Park and Mugello. It also participated in three-hour races at Sebring and Laguna Seca; and in the Suzuka 1000 kms. Chassis 028R had a good run at Suzuka and Laguna Seca with sixth-place finishes. It took seventh place at Donington, and got the tenth spot at Sebring.

In a release, Mark Osborne, Head of Motoring at Bonhams, said that they’re glad to be named as the international collector for “this breathtaking piece of competition machinery.” He also mentioned that it almost never happens that racing icons such as the McLaren F1 GTR would be offered in an auction.

This former GTC Gulf Team Davidoff 1997 McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ FIA GT Endurance Racing Coupe will be auctioned off in its full race splendor with its Gulf Oil pale blue and orange team livery on August 16 to 17 at the Bonhams event in Carmel, California at Quail Lodge.

Upon requests from such teams as Ray Bellm’s and Thomas Bscher’s for entry in the BPR Global GT Series, the McLaren F1 GTR race car was custom-built with an improved engine management system, increasing power output that was unfortunately reduced back to 600 hp (447 kW) at 7500 RPM by race regulation mandated air-restrictors. The car’s wide-ranging modifications included alterations to body panels, suspension, aerodynamics, and interior. The McLaren F1 GTR beat other prototype custom sports cars and achieved greatness with 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 13th finishes in the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans.

A total nine McLaren F1 GTRs were built for 1995.

McLaren F1 GTR 1996

On the heels of the McLaren F1 GTR’s 1995 success, the 1996 model was developed even further, with a larger size and a lower weight. Privateers used some of the 1995s, while nine F1 GTRs were made to 1996 specifications. McLaren F1 GTR '96 chassis #14R is noteworthy as the first non-Japanese car to win in the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (JGTC). David Brabham and John Nielsen were the drivers. It weighed around 100 kg less than the 1995 GTR, and the engine complied with race regulations by being kept detuned at 600 HP.

McLaren F1 GTR 1997

The F1 GT was now homologated so that, for the 1997 season, McLaren could develop the McLaren F1 GTR. Some weight was removed while a sequential transaxle was added. The engine was destroked to 6.0L instead of 6.1L. With its deeply adapted body, the McLaren F1 GTR '97 is often called the "Longtail", since the rear was extended to increase rear downforce. Ten McLaren F1 GTR '97s were produced. The weight was lowered to 910 kg in total.

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