“Festival of Speed” Showcases McLaren’s Pursuit of It



Realigning public roads as a closed course racetrack allows for the most literal use of the phrase “race cars for the road.” It may be the only chance for some of McLaren’s racing variants to take to the street.

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Included among those models is the new McLaren 570S Sprint, the first track-oriented version of the Sports Series, and the P1 GTR which took the unparalleled performance of the P1 to the circuit. The 570S Sprint is offered directly to private customers who want the ultimate performance of the 570S, without the regulations set by most racing series. With the optional GT4-compliance upgrade, the car would be suitable for FIA GT4 competition if that is the desired goal of the buyer. The P1 GTR, however, is in a league of its own.

Spawned as a result of the F1 GTR that won Le Mans a decade ago, the P1 was however not tasked with the ultimate endurance race. Instead, it was intended for private track use among McLaren’s top clientele, where customers can channel their inner James Hunt on the track. Fittingly, the latest GTR to roll out of Woking is inspired by the late Formula 1 driver’s helmet as a continuing tribute to prominent drivers from McLaren’s history, with this year marking 40 years since Hunt defeated Ferrari’s Niki Lauda by a single point for the world championship. Hunt’s helmet was black with red, blue and yellow accents as a nod to the boarding school he attended. McLaren Special Operations took the design to the body of the P1, with the one-off design being displayed on the GTR set for a Goodwood debut. Similarly, the Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna Edition P1s were displayed at the event in 2015.

mclaren-pays-tribute-to-james-hunt-with-special-p1-gtr-at-2016-goodwood-fos-108423_1But a handful of P1 GTRs have already been converted to road use by Lanzante Motorsport, the company that entered and won Le Mans with the F1 in 1995 and who converted remaining F1 GTRs to road use after its competitive life had ended. McLaren made their own homage to the GTR’s Le Mans victory with the F1 LM, a run of five-plus-one cars made for just a small handful of buyers. So to continue the lineage between the F1 and P1, the P1 LM will become the most limited-run P1 ever with just five units produced, plus the prototype which will run the Hillclimb at Goodwood this weekend.

Less extreme road-going offerings from McLaren will include the sold-out 675LT Spider as well as the 650S Can-Am edition to celebrate 50 years since the racing series debuted. An original McLaren Can-Am car, the M8D, will be on display to commemorate the occasion as well.

And if the P1 GTR is planned to make the biggest splash at Goodwood, multiple F1 GTRs will counterbalance the focus between old and new. But regardless of age, it’s all among the endless pursuit of power.