When it comes to supercars, few will cite anything other than the McLaren F1 as the iconic vehicle which took both the category and the marque into a bold new era, paving the way for many other greats to grace the tarmac in the coming decades. Despite countless supercars from a long list of producers being released in the past twenty-odd years, none are quite so elusive as the F1: a car which literally changed the laws of the road when it first came out in 1993.
Only 106 McLaren F1s were ever made, so to have a McLaren Ex Le Mans F1 GTR Restoration happen is important to automotive history. Out of those 106 McLarens, only 64 were meant to be road cars. Aside from being so few in number, those cars were even more special in that they were the culmination of everything McLaren had learned from the F1’s incredible racing career.
Even more exclusive were the twenty-eight GTRs that were made specifically for racing. The 1998 GTR that was restored raced in the Le Mans before joining a private collection. That private collector then commissioned a restoration of the car, prompting McLaren to create a certification program for the F1—the McLaren Special Operation’s F1 Certified Program. The program is set up to “safeguard originality of iconic cars for future generations.”
Sealed containers from June of 1998 were opened up to provide the parts for the restoration, those parts included fresh body panels as well as the tall gearing and blue roof identification lights of the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans specs. The process took 18 months to complete.
Future restorations will benefit from the creation of the certified program. Owners will be able to track the history and DNA of the car all the way from production, verifying not only the car’s provenance, but also the originality, service life, road and race history, and any McLaren-sanctioned upgrades.