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Le Mans Memories: Part 7


Our famous win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995 was unprecedented. Not only was the McLaren F1 GTR essentially a road car competing against purpose-built prototype racers, but it was also the first entry by McLaren in the world-famous endurance race. Yet we finished 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th, and we remain the only manufacturer to win Le Mans at the first attempt.

This month marks the 20th anniversary of that remarkable victory, and in the seventh of our ‘Le Mans Memories’ video series, McLaren returns to the world-famous French circuit for a very special parade lap ahead of the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans. Reunited for the first time since 1995, the five F1 GTRs that dominated the race took to the track, together with McLaren customers, the limited-edition 650S Le Mans, and the latest McLaren model to wear the iconic GTR badge – the McLaren P1™ GTR..

The unforgettable parade lap in front of hundreds of thousands of fans saw the three winning drivers from the No.59 Ueno Clinic F1 GTR back together at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Yannick Dalmas led the multi-million pound convoy around the 8.4-mile (13.6km) track in the McLaren P1™ GTR, JJ Lehto piloted the last McLaren F1 GTR ever built – a special ‘Longtail’ – and Masanori Sekiya, the first Japanese driver to win Le Mans, was at the wheel of a McLaren P1™.

McLaren Chief Test Driver Chris Goodwin was charged with driving the priceless No.59 F1 GTR, and five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell was in the No.51 F1 GTR, which he, his son Justin and Andy Wallace brought home in third place at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans. Together with the three other F1 GTRs that finished the race in 4th, 5th and 13th, the five racing McLarens crossed the finish line in formation to pay a fitting tribute to a record-breaking victory – McLaren was, and remains, the only manufacturer to wins Le Mans on its debut.

Yannick Dalmas, JJ Lehto and Masanori Sekiya also took part in the annual Driver’s Parade on the eve of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, wowing the crowds in Le Mans town centre with a trio of McLaren 650 Spiders. The drivers, as well as former McLaren Cars Technical Director Gordon Murray, the architect of the F1 and F1 GTR, celebrated the 20th anniversary throughout the weekend, together with McLaren Chief Executive Officer Mike Flewitt and enthusiastic McLaren customers from around the world.

In the seventh of our ‘Le Mans Memories’ video series, twenty years after the record-breaking victory McLaren returns to the world-famous French circuit to celebrate.




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