Motor (Australia)

“THE F1 LM WAS STRIPPED OUT, RAW”

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GORDON MURRAY, F1 DESIGNER

The McLaren F1 LM was built to celebrate McLaren’s astonishin­g victory at Le Mans 1995. F1 creator Gordon Murray takes up the story…

‘When we were developing the F1, I said to Mansour [Ojjeh] and Ron [Dennis], “If you tell me it’s a racing car, I’m a racing car designer, and I will compromise on luggage space and comfort and I don’t want to do that, so if we say right now it’s never going to go racing, then I can focus absolutely on making it a proper road car that you can drive to the south of France easily.” But then of course we entered Le Mans 1995 with the F1 GTR. I was surprised at the pace of the thing but the F1 was just so slippery, even with a wing. I had one day in the wind tunnel to develop the aero kit!’

‘Winning Le Mans is probably what I’m most of proud of [in terms of the F1]: to go there and then come first, third, fourth and fifth.

‘We made five McLaren F1 LMs for the road after that win. The F1 wasn’t going to be stripped out like a Ferrari F40, but the F1 LM was stripped out; just raw performanc­e.’

‘The modern equivalent would be the McLaren P1. In accelerati­on, the LM is slightly slower but if you put modern tyres on and had a seamless gearchange, it could be the same speed or quicker. The F1 was never designed to be a numbers car – it just happened to be quick.’

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