Steve Sutcliffe gets behind the wheel of an all-time classic

Next week, McLaren will reveal its new supercar, codenamed P11.

To whet our appetite for that launch, Steve Sutcliffe has tested the McLaren F1 GTR.

Read about the F1's spiritual successor, due in 2018

The very first of its kind to have been made road legal, and owned by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, the car in question had to be insured for £2.5 million before Sutcliffe was even allowed behind the wheel.

Sutcliffe explains, "No mere mortal could ever possibly understand how much raw energy the F1 GTR has at its disposal, or how easily it will generate wheelspin; even in third gear on a bone-dry road you can turn it around at anything less than 60mph."

The GTR is an extreme version of the F1; it weighs 940kg compared with 1100kg for the road car, and it's geared to max out at just 180mph, meaning the intermediate gearing is shorter than that of the road car.

As a result, although the 6.1-litre BMW V12 engine devlops marginally less than it does in road trim -around 620bhp compared with 627bhp - it is massively faster than a normal roadgoing McLaren F1 up to 180mph.

Sutcliffe concludes, "There is nothing on this earth that can prepare you for the eruption of acceleration - or the violent outburst of noise - that occurs when you finally slap the accelerator open for the very first time.

"The acceleration never stops. Even at a steady 120mph the GTR rockets forward when you floor the throttle."

The full story of Steve Sutcliffe's McLaren F1 GTR drive is in today's Autocar magazine.


Read our review

Car review

In 1994 Autocar road tested the fastest and most extreme road car ever built. Here is the definitive verdict on the McLaren F1

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BriMarsh 3 September 2009

Re: McLaren F1 GTR driven

What a hideous paint scheme. And I can't stand McLaren - the Formula 1 team - and haven't been able to since about 1985. And I can't stomach BMWs, six cylinder 5-series excepted.

But this is a car that transcends all my prejudices; what a truly, deeply magnificent piece of kit. Forget the Veyron, this is the seminal supercar...

david RS 2 September 2009

Re: McLaren F1 GTR driven

If there is only one supercar, it's the F1, and it's for all the time.

Topkat 2 September 2009

Re: McLaren F1 GTR driven

Wow that Porsche got pwned :-)