HomeThe MarketMcLaren builds one more longtail F1 racer

McLaren builds one more longtail F1 racer


Some people aren’t satisfied with just an “ordinary” McLaren supercar.  And that’s fine with the British automaker, which has a Special Operations Bespoke division to handle such special requests. Recently, the group spent 1,000 man-hours re-creating and personalizing one of the 1997 McLaren F1 GTR “longtail” racers that won at Le Mans for a client.

McLaren F1 racer, McLaren builds one more longtail F1 racer, ClassicCars.com Journal

The McLaren 657LT was done in the colors of the 1997 Gulf-Davidoff GTC racing team and has a customized interior and rides on 20-spoke wheels.

“Challenged to produce a road-going homage to the McLaren F1 GTRs that performed so strongly in endurance racing in the 1990s, winning the 1996 BPR Global Endurance Series and the GT1 Class at the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1997, MSO has created a McLaren 675LT that combines a famous racing livery with personalized and bespoke features to the customer’s brief,” McLaren said in its news release about the car. 

“The project, which was undertaken with agreement from Gulf Oil International Ltd that its famous racing livery colors could be used. The paintwork – including airbrushing – accounted for 800 hours of that total.”

McLaren F1 racer, McLaren builds one more longtail F1 racer, ClassicCars.com Journal

“We also replaced numerous standard 675LT components with MSO parts and further personalized the car to clearly identify it with its owner, a service that an increasing number of MSO customers request,” added Ansar Ali, managing director of McLaren Special Operations.

While the light blue, black and red shades of the exterior paint – with an iconic orange center stripe – are a tribute to the Gulf hues, the 20-spoke wheels are finished in Dayglo Orange, the shade also used for the badging that bears the client’s initials.

The interior is done in carbon black Alcantara with orange and blue stitching, and with the customer’s initials embroidered in the headrest. Seat belts and some switchgear are in Gulf Orange.

The car is empowered by a twin-turbocharged McLaren V8 that produces 666 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, good for a top speed of 205 mph, McLaren said.

The original F1 GTR “Longatail” cars were built for the 1997 racing season. Chassis 20R, the inspiration for the MSO 675LT Gulf theme car, was delivered to the Gulf-Davidoff GTC Motorsport team. Wearing No. 41, the car was driven by Pierre-Henri Raphanel, Jean-Marc Gounon and Anders Olofsson to class victory and second overall at the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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