Almost 20 years later, it's still the fastest naturally aspirated production car in the world.
After refreshing our memory about how amazing the F1 GTR Longtail was, McLaren has another special treat for fans of the legendary F1. Back in 1993, the third experimental prototype (XP3) managed to hit 231 miles per hour (371 kilometres per hour) in Italy at the Nardo track, but that wasn’t the end of it. Five years later, the XP5 was transported to VW’s Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany for another top speed run. In charge of driving the BMW-powered supercar was none other than Le Mans-winner Andy Wallace.
McLaren has now released footage of the record-breaking attempt from 1998, showing the F1 XP5 initially maxing out at an already amazing 241.1 mph (388 km/h). After asking the engineers to loosen up the rev limiter in order to “pump the speed a little bit up,” Wallace returned to the track and reached 242 mph (391 km/h).
“It will not go more than 391. But anyway 391 is quite fast, isn’t it?” Indeed it is. Wallace went on to mention “I still say this is the best car ever built ever and probably it will never be beaten.”
Bear in mind that a top speed record is the result of an average made between two runs in the opposite direction, so the F1’s official top speed record was established at 240.1 mph (386.7 km/h). To this day, the McLaren F1 is still the world’s fastest production car powered exclusively by a naturally aspirated engine. Not too bad for an almost 20-year-old car, right? Actually, if we take into account the car’s production launch in 1992, the record is even more impressive.
As amazing as the P1 is today, there will always be something special about the F1. Some of the magic will be brought back to life in 2019 when a spiritual successor with a three-seat layout will be out. Codenamed “BP23” after Bespoke Project 2, the already sold-out “Hyper-GT” will be produced in a limited series of 106 units, just like the F1.