McLaren Special Operations (MSO) is kicking off its new F1 Certified program with the reveal of a rebuilt F1 GTR Longtail that competed at Le Mans in 1997. F1 Certified is a service meant to safeguard the originality of the F1 supercar and is open to all owners of the iconic model.
The F1 GTR Longtail chassis number 25 is the last F1 GTR to compete in non-historic race series. The car has undergone a full restoration to “as new” condition and is showcased at the Hampton Court Concours of Elegance (August 31 – September 2, 2018).
The restoration took 18 months and was made using only new, old-stock GTR parts McLaren stored at its factory in containers last opened 20 years ago. That ensures it now has exactly the same specification and livery it had when it ran its first Le Mans 24-hour race.
The parts include the “tall” Le Mans gearing and the blue roof identification lights, taken from an aircraft’s wing. Actually, that’s the only non-McLaren part in the entire car. The new body panels fitted to the car display the exact livery and number as in 1997, making 25R what McLaren calls “a true 21-years-old time-warp machine.”
“25R” was built as one of three Longtail cars for the Gulf-Davidoff team to compete in GT racing in 1997 and was driven at Le Mans that year by Ray Bellm, Andrew Gilbert-Scott, and Masanori Sekiya. It didn’t finish the race, as a fire caused by a fractured oil line forced it to abandon two hours from the end of the event.
The car was subsequently repaired by the factory and sold to a team in Japan where it carried on racing until 2005. That year, it became the last F1 GTR ever to compete in a contemporary race series.
It was brought back to the UK in 2016 after being on static display for 11 years in a Japanese collection. The current owner entrusted “25R” to MSO for some much-needed repair work.
McLaren F1 owners who will restore or repair their car via the F1 Certified program will be given a unique Certificate of Authenticity to attest the car’s provenance, originality, service life, road/race history, and condition. Along with the certificate, owners get a bespoke illustrated book documenting the history of their car. All 106 McLaren F1s built between 1993 and 1998 for road and track use are eligible for the program.