1995 McLaren F1 GTR Pilots: M. Blundell, R. Bellm, M. Sandro Sala Team: GTC Gulf Racing Race: 4th overall (3rd in GT1 class) at Le Mans in 1995 TSM - 124336 (resin)
Released in 1992, the McLaren F1 was the brainchild of Gordon Murray. He wanted to have THE best road car of all times, and that meant performance AND ease of use. So his idea was to make a car as light as possible but powerful and aerodynamically efficient. And the F1 was all that: with 1138 kg, 618 hp and with a drag coefficient of just 0.32, it was fast. So it didn’t take long for race teams to take notice of something so wickedly fast. With the advent of the BPR Global GT Series in 1994, the F1 could be eligible for racing. Though initially against the idea, Gordon Murray agreed to modify a few chassis to race specs. So for the 1995 season nine chassis received all the necessary modifications to be race legal. Quite different from the stock road car, the race-spec F1 was called F1 GTR.
This F1 GTR #24 (chassis #02R) was one of the original nine F1 modified for full-blown racing. The engine was the same BMW S70, a V12 with 48 valves and DOHC and displacing 6064 cm³. However, because of the mandatory air restrictors, it only produced 592 hp. Thus, it was less powerful than the road-going car, but still faster because of lighter weight and better aerodynamics. In 1995 Gulf Racing bought two cars, chassis #02R and #08R. The cars raced in various endurance races around Europe that season, including La Sarthe. For the 24 Heures du Mans of 1995 both were there, as F1 GTR #24 (#02R) and #25 (#08R). A total of seven F1 GTRs raced that year, and the F1 GTR #59 came in first overall.
The 1995 race had heavy rain almost non-stop from Saturday to Sunday morning. All the grid had issues because of the rain, including the F1 GTR #24 that spun and lost seven laps. Just a little earlier, car #25 hit the barriers and was out. However, #24 rejoined the race and slowly got back up front. With the lead cars having all sorts of troubles, it managed a fourth place overall. Not counting my art car, in my eyes this is the coolest livery of all the F1 GTRs. Besides looking darn good, it’s a very successful variation on the “Gulf baby blue” theme. And, TSM did a fantastic job on the model. So even though it’s not a podium finisher, I couldn’t pass up on such a beauty. And again, just like the #42 art car, one of those models that can appeal to everyone.