The McLaren F1 is a mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 1+2 passenger, 2-door coupe. It was designed to have the highest power to weight ratio of any car available, which was achieved with the use of ultra light-weight composite materials and bespoke components. The F1 is has a 6.1 Liter V12 engine with aluminum block and heads that was developed by BMW. It has four valves per cylinder and chain-driven double overhead cams.

Power (SAE net): 618 bhp @ 7400 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 479 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Redline: 7500 rpm

Tires: Goodyear F1
- F: 235/45ZR-17
- R: 315/45ZR-17

Top speed: 231 mph
0-60 mph: 3.4 sec

Born in the late 1980's as a joint venture between the McLaren racing team, and designer Gordon Murray, their stated design goal was to build the best sports car. Ever.

The team was determined from the outset to one-up Ferrari in terms of attention to detail, a goal anyone who looks under the hood of a McLaren F1 and sees the gold trimmed engine will agree they achieved.

This attention to detail proved the undoing of the McLaren F1 as a commerical enterprise; by the time the vehicle went into production in 1993 the cost per car had skyrocked to almost £ 550,000. With VAT and road use taxes, an F1 could cost its owner more than £ 700,000.

The McLaren has a top speed of about 240 mph, and can accelerate from 0 to 100 mph in roughly six seconds; even now in September 2000, this was the fastest production car ever built, and given increasingly strict emission standards it is unlikely that these milestones will ever be surpassed (Urban Myths about rocket cars notwithstanding).

An interesting piece of historical trivia is the simple fact that the McLaren F1 won LeMans at its first attempt - something never before done.

A grand total of 65 F1s were built and in the UK the asking price currently starts at about £ 800,000.

Even F1 replicars are in high demand. Recently I saw an LM (an F1 replica) advertised with bids accepted starting at £ 150,000. FOR AN F1 REPLICA.


For the more automotive minded Noders here are some of the salient facts I've collected about the F1.

And yes, I'm looking for a car but I can't afford an F1. I think SmartCars are cool (and next Christmas will buy one for my girlfriend), but I'm in the market for a Lamborghini Countach. It suits me, and my girlfriend is Italian. She'll love it when I rev the engine and it sounds like the world is ending.

About the F1 though :

Weight: 2341 lbs
Displacement: 380 cubic inches
Power: 680 horse power

As a tiny, tiny extra fact-ette, the McLaren F1 LM is in fact a roadgoing version of the Le Mans car, created in a limited run of five to celebrate F1s coming 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th on their first ever go.

The LM is actually more powerful than the Le Mans car, as it has the air restrictors removed, giving 680bhp to the race car's 600bhp. The top speed is reduced from the 240mph of the road car to 215mph, due to accelerative gearing, which reduces the 0-60mph time from 3.6 seconds to 2.9.

The F1 has a built-in diagnostic computer, which can be connected via modem to the McLaren factory - should the car break down, a McLaren engineer can download diagnostic information remotely. An annual service at the factory costs £25,000.

If you want to see one in real life, pop into the McLaren showroom in Park Lane, London, where a single F1 is on display. You can't buy it - the showroom sells nothing - and I don't think they will let you sit in it, either.

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