The McLaren F1 is a sports car designed and manufactured by McLaren Automotive which on 31 March 1998 set the record for the fastest road car in the world reaching a top speed of 372 km/h or 231 mph. This car has many specific and unique designs and technologies, like the fact that it is lighter and has a more streamlined structure than many modern sports cars, despite having one seat more. The McLaren F1 is fitted with a very powerful 6.1 L V12 engine and the modified race car edition won various races. Only 106 cars were built between 1992 and 1998 when the production ended, but it still remains one of the event-cars in the history of automobile production.
With a kerb weight of approximately 1,062 kilograms, the McLaren F1 is a two-door, three-seat coupe with a rear mid-engine and rear-wheel drive. McLaren F1’s concept was designed by British chief engineer Gordon Murray who had two very important things in mind: low weight and high power, which he achieved with expensive high-tech materials such as carbon fiber, gold, titanium, magnesium and Kevlar. The result of many years of hard work and unabated hope, the McLaren F1 was first shown to the public on 28 May 1992 at The Sporting Club in Monaco. Back then the car was considered unfit for the road because it lacked indicators in the front, so McLaren had to make the necessary changes.
An interesting fact in the history of the McLaren F1 is the story of how its first safety levels were proved. It all happened in Namibia in April 1993 when a test driver wearing just shorts and a t-shirt hit a rock and rolled over in the car several times. Luckily, the driver had no injuries, so the McLaren F1 got some good publicity out of this event. Another curious piece of trivia is related to the use of gold in the manufacturing of the F1. For each of the cars that were made, 16 grams of gold were necessary because engineer Gordon Murray needed a highly-efficient heat-reflector to insulate the engine compartment.
The engine of the McLaren F1 was, after many searches and quests, manufactured by BMW who created a 6.1 L, 618 hp and 266 kg engine that was 14% more powerful and 16 kg heavier than Gordon Murray’s original specifications. Another aspect that Murray was very interested in was making the car ad aerodynamic as possible. This was achieved through a number of tricks and methods, including not fitting it with wings that could slow it down. The car features active aerodynamics, such as an air intake at the top of the vehicle which directs high pressure air to the engine with a low pressure exit point at the top of the rear.