McLaren’s Customer Service Goes Into Overdrive By Promising A Loaner Engine For F1 Owners
Get your McLaren F1 engines repaired by MSO and get a loaner engine in returnby Kirby Garlitos, on
McLaren’s customer service is already regarded as one of the best in the business, so this news comes as no big surprise. The British automaker is giving owners of the McLaren F1 the opportunity to have the original BMW-sourced, 6.1-liter V-12 engine fully serviced, yet still have use of the car. How does McLaren do this? Two words: loaner engines.
The whole concept follows McLaren’s reputation for having one of the best full factory support services among all premium automakers in the world. While it’s not impossible for automakers to put in loaner engines on cars that allow them to be driven, it’s unheard of when you consider that the car in question is the McLaren F1. The F1 is largely considered as one of the finest supercars ever developed, despite already being 25 years old. The news came from a Road & Track report indicating McLaren’s MSO division does offer the temporary engine swap, allowing owners of the F1 to continue driving their cars even if the car’s original engine is being repaired or rebuilt at MSO’s factory. Whether owners actually drive their F1s with the loaner engine installed is a separate issue entirely. Some might opt to not risk any potential issues incurred by having a loaner engine in place. Remember, despite the assurance that McLaren still has plenty of original parts and upgrades for the F1, a simple knock or issue on the supercar could spiral into a messy financial black hole for the owner. Maintenance costs run ridiculously high with the F1 and the risk of issues arising is a cause for concern.
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Is it worth driving though knowing it’s not the original engine?
The whole notion of installing a loaner engine in a McLaren F1 while the original V-12 engine is being serviced or repaired sounds really good on paper. It’s also a credit to McLaren and its MSO personalization division that it’s doing something like this when it probably doesn’t need to.
The thought of driving a 25-year old supercar with a loaner engine is pretty scary, even if McLaren itself is the one that put the engine there in the first place.
But the thought of driving a 25-year old supercar with a loaner engine is pretty scary, even if McLaren itself is the one that put the engine there in the first place. What happens if something goes wrong with the car because it doesn’t have the OG engine? I know McLaren has full-time mechanics whose sole job is to work on the F1, but is it even worth it to find out? This has nothing against those talented engineers and mechanics, but the mental anguish might be too big of a burden to overcome.
If I had a McLaren F1 with a loaner engine in it, I’m going to do whatever I can to resist driving the car until the original engine is fixed or rebuilt and returned to the car.
Personally, if I had a McLaren F1 with a loaner engine in it, I’m going to do whatever I can to resist driving the car until the original engine is fixed or rebuilt and returned to the car. There are inherent risks that come with this set-up and I’m not prepared to find out what they are personally. Simply maintaining the F1 on an annual basis already costs in excess of $30,000, and that doesn’t even count all the unexpected hiccups that inevitably comes with having a car that’s 25 years old already.
So, while I appreciate the offer McLaren is putting on the table by allowing me to drive my F1 (if I had one, of course) without its original engine, I can’t just risk driving it around anywhere, especially on a track where all sorts of other issues can pop up at a moment’s notice. Maybe a run to the bank is possible, but anything of longer distance isn’t happening.
What do you think? Would you drive your McLaren F1 with a loaner engine?
Read our full review on the McLaren F1 here.