Twenty-five years ago, McLaren’s electrifying debut at the 1995 24 hours of Le Mans endurance race, one of the wettest in record, was unforgettable. The McLaren F1, having only been introduced three years prior, crossed the finish line in first. And third, fourth, fifth and thirteenth. A decisive victory at the British marque’s inaugural attempt at the gruelling endurance race was, and remains to this day, an extraordinary achievement in motorsport history.
To commemorate this achievement and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the victory, McLaren is releasing five customer-commissioned racecars. Uprated versions of the track-only McLaren Senna GTR – which is already boasts the fastest lap times McLaren’s ever seen – are getting slapped with a shiny coat of paint. Well, 800 hours of unique hand painted liveries to be precise.
These bespoke liveries either imitate or honour the F1 GTRs that dominated the 1995 race, all hand finished in painstaking detail by the McLaren Special Operations team. It’s the details that count: from the vinyl scrutineering stickers (to certify that the racecar has been checked by race officials) to the sponsors’ logos and trademarks were faithfully recreated.
Take the McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/6, based on the F1/06R – otherwise known as ‘The Harrods Car’ – so called for its distinctive coat of yellow paint and a bold green stripe bearing the name of Harrods, an iconic departmental store in London.
For a more muted look, the GTR LM 825/1, which is an homage to the F1/01R, is decked out in a distinctive, svelte grey that mimics the look of the car that swept across the chequered flag in first place 25 years ago.
Of course, the cars are distinctive for more than their exteriors. As we’ve said, they’re based on the McLaren Senna GTR, an exceptional racehorse in its own right. When first engineered, it boasted the highest power-to-weight ratio of any McLaren with a sleek, aerodynamic profile capable of generating more than 1000 kg of downforce.
With the LM edition, the GTR’s twin turbo-charged 4.0L engine was upgraded to deliver 833 hp while the exhaust system saw the addition of specially designed LM twin-exit pipes. A returning collaboration with OZ Racing, an Italian marque that supplied the rubber for the McLaren F1 GTR, lends the LM a unique, five-spoke wheel design. Satin gold-finished brake calipers and suspension wishbones are a further nod to the F1 GTR.
Within the vehicle, other exclusive features to the LM include: a racing steering wheel with anodised gold gear shift paddles; titanium nitride pedals embossed with LM logos; door-pull straps, carbon-fibre racing seats complete with embroidered headrests and a six-point racing harness.
Says Ansar Ali, managing director of McLaren Special Operations in a press release, “The McLaren Senna GTR LM project has been a labour of love for nearly two years; we have gone to great lengths not only to perfect the engineering aspects of the cars, but also to gain co-operation from brand holders and partners to maximise authenticity.”
The five iconic vehicles each possess an individualised dedication plaque containing the make’s original F1 GTR chassis number identifier. The cars themselves bear an etched dedication to its Le Mans predecessor, complete with details like the date of the race, the names of the three drivers in that car and the position in which they finished.
Sealing the deal is an opportunity in 2021 to participate in a Le Mans circuit driving experience come race weekend – driving their unique McLaren Senna GTR LMs, accompanied by the original F1 GTRs that competed in the race 25 years ago.