McLaren’s Victory Lap at Le Mans: Video
McLaren hasn’t competed at Le Mans for quite some time, but the pre-race ceremonies at this year’s race were basically one big McLaren party. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1995-1997 McLaren F1 GTR’s victory at the 24-hour race, McLaren pulled out all the stops and brought along all five GTR racers that competed in the 1995 race, a 1997 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail and the new 2016 McLaren P1 GTR for a victory lap of Le Sarthe. Owners from around the world in 2014 McLaren P1s, 2015 McLaren 650Ss and 12Cs were also invited to come along.
Now McLaren has released this outstanding video documenting the occasion. This wasn’t exactly a gingerly paced parade lap. These guys really canned it down the Mulsanne and other fast sections of the track. McLaren Chief Test Driver Chris Goodwin took the wheel of the race-winning No. 49 Ueno Clinic car. All three race-winning drivers were there and behind the wheels of other cars: Yannick Dalmas in the P1 GTR, JJ Lehto in the Longtail and Masanori Sekiya in a P1.
You’ll probably want to turn your speakers up for this one. It’s case study in comparing the sound of McLaren’s old, BMW-sourced V-12 and the new turbocharged V-8. (Spoiler: the V-12 sounds way better.)
The F1 wasn’t built as a race car, but interest from customer teams eventually led the company to building the F1 GTR. 1995 was the first year McLaren entered Le Mans, and it didn’t just win its first time out, the five cars absolutely dominated, finishing first, third, fourth, fifth and 13th. It’s also the last road-based car to win at Le Mans. Check out McLaren’s Le Mans Memories video series to learn about McLaren’s extraordinary 1995 race.