The McLaren F1 redefined the very concept of the supercar when it was launched in 1993.
Its spiritual successor, the McLaren P1™, would do the same 20 years later.
Even two decades after it first appeared, the McLaren F1 still looks ahead of its time. It combined extraordinary speed with everyday usability in a way that no other contemporary supercar could. The McLaren P1™ is every inch its rightful successor. While headline writers loved the fact that the McLaren F1 was the fastest production car in the world – setting a record of 240.1mph – its greatest legacy was its technical innovation. It was the first road car to be built around a carbon fibre tub, a technology pioneered by McLaren in Formula 1, and one that lies at the heart of all of our current models. The McLaren F1 also used its hand-built V12 engine as a stressed component, had a unique central driving position, and the design team’s quest for lightweight perfection was such that gold foil was used in its engine bay to reflect heat. While it was never designed for competition, the F1 also morphed into an enormously successful race car – winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1995.
‘McLaren introduced the carbon fibre chassis to the world of Formula 1 in 1981 with the MP4/1, and we had the first carbon road car. We have always been at the cutting edge of vehicle aerodynamics, and all of this experience has gone into the McLaren P1™. Twenty years ago, with the McLaren F1, we raised the supercar performance bar. With the McLaren P1™, we have redefined it once more.’
Chairman - McLaren Automotive
Much has changed since 1993. The technologies available to the current team at McLaren were barley feasible theories when the McLaren F1 was on drawing board. Some things, however, remain unchanged - an obsessive approach and the belief that anything is possible.
Mark Roberts - Design Operations Manager, recalls the early days of the McLaren F1 project.