1997 McLaren F1 GTR 'Longtail' FIA GT Endurance Racing Coupe Ex-GTC Gulf Team Davidoff, and the final example produced Chassis no. 028R
San Francisco, 16 June, 2012
This year, for its Quail Lodge Sale, Bonhams is thrilled to present an absolute icon of modern-era sports car racing: an ex-GTC Gulf Team Davidoff 1997 McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ FIA GT Endurance Racing Coupe.
The McLaren F1 GTR design is from that pantheon of victors, including the legendary Ford GT40 and Porsche 917K, to wear Gulf Oil’s charismatic pale-blue and orange team livery.
The 20th Century’s ultimate motoring icon, the McLaren F1 not only earned its place amongst such exalted company on genuine merit, but also appears on most aficionados’ top-ten list of the greatest sports cars ever built.
This particular example, chassis ‘028R’, was the 28th and last McLaren F1 GTR produced by the British McLaren Cars factory in Woking, Surrey. It is the last of that final year’s batch of only ten highly developed ‘Longtail’ cars. These definingly beautiful, ultra-modern competition coupes – with their unique centerline driving position and super-sophisticated all-composite structure – were the ultimate development of McLaren’s entire Le Mans-winning F1 GTR family. Indeed, they had to be to resist the tailor-made circuit-racing projectiles then unleashed by the AMG Mercedes-Benz operation.
In 1997 ‘028R’ contested FIA GT Championship 4-hour races at the Nurburgring, Spa-Francorchamps, Austria’s A1-Ring, Donington Park and Mugello, plus the Sebring and Laguna Seca 3-hours events and the Suzuka 1,000 kms. Driven in these races by Andrew Gilbert-Scott, Geoff Lees, Anders Olofsson and John Neilsen, ‘028R’ finished sixth at Suzuka and Laguna Seca, seventh at Donington and tenth at Sebring.
As the last of this rarefied and now much coveted breed, the McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ ‘028R’ embodies all the lessons learned during that highly successful period. In short, this Gordon Murray-designed beauty is today one of the finest and most exclusive and charismatic racing coupes available anywhere in the world.
“We are delighted to have been appointed by an international collector to represent this breathtaking piece of competition machinery,” says Mark Osborne, Head of Motoring at Bonhams. “Racing legends like the McLaren F1 GTR rarely if ever appear at auction and Bonhams' appointment speaks volumes about our leadership in this sector of the market.”
This year Bonhams is very excited to present its offerings in a new, larger venue on the same Quail Lodge grounds in Carmel Valley. This new location – on the lawns at the western end of the property – provides spacious plein air viewing against the backdrop of the stunning wooded highlands. This is a much more open and accessible site and, while providing greater space on preview and auction days as two key aims behind this move, will also enable our clients to park with ease right at the sale.
Bonhams is currently accepting consignments of rare and pedigree motorcars of all vintages to go alongside the McLaren F1.