This weekend, a very different kind of Le Mans 24 Hours is taking place. It’s a lot later than usual, and no spectators are allowed. 25 and a bit year ago though, La Sarthe was packed with fans, who all witnessed a very special result – an outright win for a non-prototype car.
That racer was a McLaren F1 GTR driven by JJ Lehto, Yannick Dalmas and Masanori Sekiya, but it wasn’t the only F1 on the podium, and it was one of five to finish the gruelling race. So, McLaren Automotive in its contemporary form has decided to honour all of them, starting with the number 59 ‘Ueno Clinic’ F1/01R (above), which Lanzante also happens to be referencing via its recently revealed LM25 editions.
Next up is the number 51 F1/06R Harrods car, which was driven by a team of British pilots: Andy Wallace, Derek Bell and Justin Bell. The yellow F1 was in with a shot at victory, but a gearbox issue two hours from the end of the race meant settling for a still very impressive third place.
Mark Blundell, Maurizio Sandro Sala and Ray Bellm’s F1/02R finished a few laps behind the Harrods car in fourth. The number 24 GTR arguably had the best livery of the lot, with sponsorship coming from oil brand Gulf.
F1/07 finished a lap down on the Gulf car in fifth place. French team Giroix Racing ran the ‘Jacadi’ number 50 car, which was given a gallic-themed blue livery to suit. Behind the wheel was Fabien Giroix, Olivier Grouillard and Jean-Denis Deletraz.
French outfit Société BBA tasked artist Cesar Baldaccini to design the unusual livery adorning F1/05R. The number 42 car was some way back from the 1st, 3rd and 5th-placed F1s in 13th overall, but the all-French driver line-up – consisting of Jean-Luc Maury-Laribiere, Marc Sourd and Hervé Poulin – did manage 7th in the GT1 class out of nearly 30 starters.
The five ‘GTR LMs’ have been finished by McLaren Special Operations, and will soon be making their way to customers in the USA and Europe. Which is your favourite?
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