If you’ve spent any time in an arcade, you’ve no doubt seen the sit-down racing games that allow you to compete against your friends as you cruise exotic locations. In these games, you can select from a bevy of dream cars, which inevitably include the McLaren F1 LMs. And there’s a reason why the McLaren is included. In March of 1998, a McLaren F1 hit a top speed of 240.14 miles per hour at the Ehra-Lessien Proving Ground in Germany, setting a record that would stand for nearly seven years and still stands as the fastest naturally aspirated production car. Not bad for a car that started out as a sketch on a blank sheet of paper.
Sotheby’s has the penultimate “standard” F1 road car ever built up for auction. Chassis number 073 came to being in the same year that McLaren set the speed record, 1998. Interestingly, the car didn’t actually leave the McLaren facility as the owner requested that it be kept there. It received all the services and upgrades directly from McLaren crews. Speaking of upgrades, this car was sent to McLaren Special Operations, where it was outfitted to receive the LM specification. That title comes with changes to the engine to optimize its performance, providing 680 horsepower. It was also updated with larger radiators and a sports exhaust. Chassis 073 is one of only two road-going F1s to get such a treatment. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to upgrades.