NOT one, but two examples of the extraordinary McLaren P1 GTR will be in action on the Hill over the Goodwood Festival of Speed weekend, between them producing nearly 2,000 horsepower.
The first is entered by McLaren Automotive as part of the Supercar Run and is being fitted with a special livery inspired by James Hunt’s famous race helmet, in honour of the 40th anniversary of his Formula 1 championship win.
The second is entered by Lanzante Ltd. and is an extensively modified version of the original which was initially created by McLaren Special Operations (MSO).
The most obvious difference between them is that the Lanzante entrant is street legal, meaning the Lanzante team will attempt to set the fastest time of the weekend for a road car with 1999 Indy 500 winner and McLaren test driver, Kenny Bräck, behind the wheel.
The P1 GTR is the car that McLaren never intended to build. But when deliveries began of the road legal P1, its first recipients called for an even more extreme version dedicated for track use. The bespoke division of McLaren Automotive, MSO, obliged, confirming limited production of the car at the International Geneva Motor Show in 2015.
For the near £2 million purchase price, their clients also had automatic entry into the ultimate McLaren ownership experience, the McLaren P1™ GTR Driver Programme, including exclusive events at international Formula 1 circuits, access to the McLaren Racing driver simulator, and their own team of race technicians.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Hunt’s Driver’s Championship, as well as the fourth owners’ gathering for the P1 GTR earlier this week at Silverstone, a one-off livery has been created for the entry of the car in this year’s Goodwood Festival.
Lanzante has extensive history with McLaren, not least as the company that ran the semi-works McLaren F1 GTR that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995.
Twenty-one years later, Lanzante is renewing its link with a car that it says will bring together “the best of the McLaren Ultimate Series, combining the track-focused McLaren P1™ GTR and its road car sibling in one”.
Lanzante has so far completed an experimental prototype and it is this which will take to Goodwood’s Hill in Class 25 for Modern GT Racers.
Following the global launch of McLaren Automotive in 2010, the groundbreaking 12C was launched in 2011, the 12C Spider in 2012, and the limited-run McLaren P1™ went into production in 2013.
In keeping with its plan to introduce a new model each year, the company unveiled the 650S, in coupe and Spider form in 2014, and the Sports Series among the models introduced in 2015.
The brand continues to expand, and McLaren posted a profit during 2013 – only the third year of vehicle production. This was followed in 2014 by a third consecutive year of growth in sales, with a record 1,649 vehicles delivered via a dedicated global network of retailers in every major car market.
McLaren has pioneered the use of carbon fibre in vehicle production over the past 30 years, and since introducing a carbon chassis into racing and road cars with the 1981 McLaren MP4/1 and 1993 McLaren F1 respectively, McLaren has not built a car without a carbon fibre chassis.