McLaren Spent 18 Months To Restore This Ex-Le Mans F1 GTR
As a tribute to the iconic car, the British company during the inauguration approved the iconic ’25R’ 1997 F1 GTR Longtail as the first car under the program. The 21-year-old car was restored after the McLaren Special Operations team spent nearly 18 months to bring it back to ‘as new’ condition.
“Even among F1 GTRs, this car, designated ’25R’, is unique – and now it is as near to being new as we can make it,” commented Ansar Ali, Managing Director, McLaren Special Operations (MSO). “The car is the exemplar of everything that the new certification programme stands for and we are proud to have ’25R’ as the very first McLaren F1 Certified car.”
The company claims that the F1 Certified programme has been developed to guarantee both the road version as well as the track version of the vehicles. Under the certification programme, the owners can track the complete DNA of the car back to its production with valuable information such as the car’s provenance, originality, service life, road/race history and condition as well as conformity with the original specification and to any McLaren-sanctioned upgrades is confirmed by reference to the factory archives.
The F1 GTR ’25R’ was one of McLaren’s finest creations with only three other models of the similar type including the longtail. The car spanned eight years on the track and was raced by the Gulf Davidoff team to compete in GT racing in 1997. However, it was forced out of the Le Mans in the same year after the car caught fire during the race. After being repaired, the car was then sold to a team in Japan where it continued to race until 2005. The same year, the car became the first ever F1 GTR to compete in a contemporary race series.
With the new body panels displaying the exact Gulf-Davidoff team livery and bearing the car’s 1997 Le Mans number 39, ’25R’ is a true 21-years-old time-warp machine.