McLaren F1 Celebrates the Big 2-0

McLaren's F1 is 20 years old this year (18 if you consider its 1992 debut date, so it's still legal) and to celebrate, McLaren invited owners out to Woking for a dinner at its Technology Center. The highlight of the get-together has to have been the 21-car F1 roundup, featuring the largest collection of F1s ever seen together.

McLaren chairman (and anti-Bugatti spokesman) Ron Dennis was on-hand to express his own feelings about owning and driving the car: "The F1 is a technological tour-de-force and a real triumph in terms of packaging and design."

"Whether endurance racing or on road, it is supremely fast, agile and yet comfortable. Its styling is enduring and will never fade. I enjoy driving mine more today than ever before because I find its technical purity highly satisfying; the F1 remains one of McLaren's proudest achievements."

Over its twenty years on Earth, the F1 has spawned 72 road cars (64 F1s, 5 F1 LMs, and 3 F1 GTs), 28 racers (F1 GTRs), and 6 other prototypes. The F1 GTR took just three months to develop, and the 28 examples McLaren built were big time winners: the 1995 GT1 Championship and the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans (1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 13th places), both its debut seasons.

The five cars that finished at Le Mans were the inspiration for the five Papaya Orange F1 LMs, which get a "de-restricted engine" putting out 680 horsepower.

Lastly, the "Longtail" GT came out in '97 in order to meet homologation standards for the new GTR.

If McLaren's F1 weren't a household name after its impressive race history, it sure was once it became the world's fastest car (it's still the fastest naturally-aspirated car). After a 106-car production run, Mclaren decided to call it a day with the F1. After a brief hiatus working with Mercedes to create the avian SLR, the Woking wonders are back with their own purebred 911 hunter: the MP4-12C.

Still interested in an F1? The last we heard, there was a Longtail GTR for sale in the Land of the Rising Sun.

By Phil Alex