Not every special-edition car is actually special. But when the car in question is a McLaren, it’s a slightly different story. But it’s not McLaren itself that’s releasing the cars. Instead, they’re the work of British tuner and restorer Lazante. What’s the occasion? A celebration of not just a celebrated race car, but an iconic supercar: the McLaren F1 GTR.
What makes the original McLaren F1 GTR worth celebrating?
Even though it’s almost 30 years old at this point, the McLaren F1 is still the fastest naturally-aspirated production car in the world. And its engineering still astounds today. Thanks to a lack of electronic safety features (even ABS) and the world’s first fully-carbon-fiber chassis, it weighs 2425 pounds without fluids, Road & Track reports. There’s gold foil in the engine bay serving as heat insulation. And providing that heat is a 627-hp 6.1-liter V12, which redlines at 7500 RPM.
However, despite all these race-car-like features, designer Gordon Murray originally didn’t want to race it, R&T reports. But F1 customers’ petitions eventually wore him down. The result was the 1995 McLaren F1 GTR—which, for a race car, had a remarkably lax development.
It only saw 1 day of wind tunnel testing and is almost identical to the road car. The biggest differences are slightly-modified suspension, a sequential 6-speed, a stripped-down racing interior and roll cage, and the rear-mounted wing. Also, the F1 GTR is slower than the road car, because a racing intake restrictor cuts its output to 600 hp.
But that almost didn’t matter. Despite the relative lack of testing, 7 McLaren F1 GTRs were entered into the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans. 5 finished, in 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 13th places, Top Gear reports. That made McLaren the first company to win Le Mans, the Indy 500, and Formula 1, Motor Trend reports. It would later modify the F1 GTR into the more aerodynamic and successful McLaren F1 GTR Longtail, Autoweek reports.
So where does Lazante come in? The company prepped one of the original 7 Le Mans GTRs, Motor1 explains. And to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the race, Lazante is modifying a few of McLaren’s current cars.
The Lanzante LM 25 special edition McLarens
This isn’t the first time Lazante has modified a modern McLaren, Motor1 reports. The British tuner and noted F1 restorer created several street-legal versions of the P1 GTR track car. But the new Lazante LM 25 Editions will be slightly more numerous, PistonHeads reports. That’s because, in honor of the 7 Le Mans cars, the tuner is building 7 LM 25 McLarens.
Each LM 25 is based on a different modern McLaren: the 600LT and 765LT coupe and Spider (convertible), as well as the Senna and Senna GTR. As of this writing, the 7th model has not been revealed.
Each LM 25 McLaren borrows visual cues from Lazante’s F1 GTR, The Drive reports. The cars all have ‘Ueno Gray’ body panels, as well as gray carbon-fiber trim. The LM 25s also come with carbon-fiber wheels and titanium bolts, which together save about 15 pounds per wheel. The door sills are made of carbon-fiber, too, as are the floor mats.
There’s also quite a bit of gold in the Lazante LM 25 McLarens. Or at least in the case of the brake calipers, gold coloring. However, there is real gold anodized onto the interior switches, and the exhaust heat shields and tips have a gold-ceramic coating.
Rounding out the mods are a few interior tweaks. The modified McLarens have more Alcantara, including on the steering wheel. Plus, their stock seats are replaced by actual F1 GTR racing seats, which save an additional 40 pounds each.
You can get your own McLaren F1 GTR for much less…kind of
The Lazante LM 25 McLarens don’t come cheap. In addition to the donor car’s base price, the conversion costs about $188,500. It also takes roughly 3 months to complete. Though given an actual McLaren F1 GTR sold for $5.28 million in 2014, Gooding reports, that’s arguably a bargain.
But, for those who can’t snag Lazante’s special editions, McLaren is offering its own, Car and Driver reports. The British automaker is building 50 720S Le Mans models to commemorate that 1995 win. There are 2 exterior colors available—orange and gray—which also carry over into the accents on the black Alcantara racing seats. The supercars also receive carbon fiber front fenders, gold-colored brakes, a roof scoop, and black cladding. The McLaren 720S Le Mans starts at $285.6k, with a 6-point harness and titanium harness bar available as options.
But, if those are both understandably too pricey, there is another way to celebrate the McLaren F1 GTR: a diecast model. British company Amalgam Collection makes highly-detailed hand-built models of many cars, Classic Driver reports. And in addition to its ‘normal’ F1 GTR, it now has a limited-edition ‘weathered’ version, complete with grime and rock chips. Amalgam actually laser-scanned an original McLaren F1 GTR to ensure maximum accuracy. It’s still not cheap—the regular version costs $11,995—but it’s easier to store than a vintage race car.
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