I know it’s unfashionable, but I’ve always had a soft spot for McLaren - perhaps as a result of growing up and switching on to F1 in the late Eighties when their incredible run of modern day success really hit its stride.
But despite the fastest laps, poles, victories and championships racked up by the likes of Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Mika Hakkinen, what really stands out for me is the Le Mans triumph of 1995 with the McLaren F1.
To my mind, the F1 road and racing projects emphasised everything that was great about an F1 team’s ability to think beyond boundaries, from the original road car to the ‘came, saw, conquered’ win on its first visit to Le Mans.
Today, at the Geneva motor show, McLaren has put the F1 GT Longtail on display on its stand. Even though the racing equivalent never quite hit the heights of the original Le Mans winner, it’s a car that signifies much of the innovative spirit that typifies McLaren and which has, of course, now given its name to the new McLaren 675LT road car unveiled today.
On the stand in Geneva, McLaren is understandably protective of its F1 GT; it is reckoned to be the third most valuable McLaren F1 in existence - behind the original F1 XP LM and, of course the Le Mans winning, Ueno Clinic sponsored F1 GTR #01R.