Twenty-five years after its famous début victory in the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours, the wonderful McLaren F1 GTR is the subject of this major two-volume history. Derived from the BMW V12 powered three-seat McLaren F1 road car, the F1 GTR only came into existence because of customer pressure on designer Gordon Murray to produce a racing version. With 28 examples built over three seasons, the F1 GTR was fabulously successful, winning 41 of its 131 races and taking two international championship titles. This sumptuous set of books outlines the life of the McLaren F1 GTR in exhaustive depth, with Volume 1 devoted to race-by-race narrative and Volume 2 to individual car histories and the stories of the people who raced them, all supported by over 775 color photographs.
McLaren F1 GTR Story highlights
- Design and development of the F1 GTR, including thoughts from Gordon Murray, the car’s designer who has also written the foreword.
- Racing in 1995: besides the celebrated McLaren victory at Le Mans, F1 GTRs dominated the BPR Global GT Endurance Series, winning 10 of its 12 rounds, with John Nielsen and Thomas Bscher narrowly emerging as champions in Bscher’s West-sponsored car.
- Racing in 1996: a second all-conquering BPR season delivered the championship title to Ray Bellm in his Gulf-sponsored car, partnered by James Weaver, while a campaign in Japan’s national championship saw John Nielsen and David Brabham crowned champions.
- Racing in 1997: the F1 GTR evolved into Long Tail form and a BMW-funded team arrived to join the action, taking all five McLaren victories in the new FIA GT Championship, although the Schnitzer-run team’s quickest drivers, JJ Lehto and Steve Soper, narrowly missed out on the title.
- Racing in 1998: Steve O’Rourke’s privateer F1 GTR Long Tail achieved a remarkable fourth overall but by now the FIA GT Championship had become a Mercedes benefit and the two participating McLarens were outclassed.
- Twilight years in Japan: two F1 GTRs soldiered on in Japan from 1999 to 2005, achieving one more victory, at Miné in 2001.
- Car histories: all 28 F1 GTRs receive detailed resumés of their lifetimes, complete with period and modern photographs showing them in their myriad guises, often with various changes of color and livery over the years, plus conversions to road use.
- The people: key McLaren and team personnel provide first-hand recollections, followed by views of the men who raced F1 GTRs successfully, from Le Mans achievers Yannick Dalmas and Derek Bell to multiple winners Ray Bellm, Thomas Bscher, John Nielsen, Andy Wallace, James Weaver, JJ Lehto, and Steve Soper.
- Limited Edition: limited to only 1,000 copies, numbered and signed by the author
- Collector’s Edition: limited to just 50 copies, numbered and signed by Gordon Murray, Ray Bellm, and Thomas Bscher.
Even more exceptional than the Limited Edition, the Collector’s Edition is handcrafted entirely in the finest quality leather by Ludlow Bookbinders. Not only are the two volumes bound in leather but so is the slipcase. A period reproduction McLaren metal badge (with kind permission of McLaren) is affixed to the front of both volumes.
The author, Mark Cole, is a journalist and TV commentator who covered the BPR GT series and FIA GT Championship during the four-year period in which the McLaren F1 GTRs competed, attending all the races in 1995, 1996 and 1997, plus most of those in 1998. His career also includes spells as club editor of Autosport magazine, press officer at Thruxton and Silverstone circuits, and press attaché for the FIA World Sports Car Championship. He has been a commentator on Eurosport TV for 28 years. His previous books have been about Brands Hatch, GT racing, the Ford GT40 and John Fitzpatrick Racing. He lives in Buckingham.
Title: McLaren F1 GTR : The Definitive History
Author: Mark Cole
Publisher: Porter Press International
Publication date: November 2020
Pages: 648 pages
Format: 340x245mm portrait
Illustrations: 775 color
Note: Press release courtesy of Porter Press International