Automotive

How about a 390 km/h ride in a McLaren F1?

How about a 390 km/h ride in a...
Andy Wallace behind the wheel of the McLaren F1
Andy Wallace behind the wheel of the McLaren F1
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Behind the wheel of the McLaren F1
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Behind the wheel of the McLaren F1
The F1 is famous for its three-seat layout inside
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The F1 is famous for its three-seat layout inside
The F1 was powered by a naturally aspirated BMW V12
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The F1 was powered by a naturally aspirated BMW V12
The F1 was built in limited numbers, and values have shot through the roof
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The F1 was built in limited numbers, and values have shot through the roof
The F1 was driven by Andy Wallace on its record run
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The F1 was driven by Andy Wallace on its record run
This concours condition F1 came up for sale last year
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This concours condition F1 came up for sale last year
The F1 set its record top speed in 1998
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The F1 set its record top speed in 1998
The F1 was breaking into uncharted territory when it cracked 350 km/h in 1998
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The F1 was breaking into uncharted territory when it cracked 350 km/h in 1998
This is where the magic happens in the McLaren F1
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This is where the magic happens in the McLaren F1
The F1 has become a legend, even though its record has been broken
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The F1 has become a legend, even though its record has been broken
Gold was chosen for its heat-management properties in the F1 engine bay
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Gold was chosen for its heat-management properties in the F1 engine bay
Andy Wallace behind the wheel of the McLaren F1
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Andy Wallace behind the wheel of the McLaren F1

As automotive legends go, few can come close to the McLaren F1 for sheer star power. It's arguably the most significant supercar of the modern era, mixing a BMW V12 engine with a composite body for a staggering 376 km/h (240.1 mph) top speed. It's been 25 years since Andy Wallace completed his record runs at Ehra-Lessien, and McLaren has celebrated by diving into the archives for some period footage of the F1 racing into the history books.

It's since been usurped by Bugatti, but McLaren was wading into unknown territory when it set out to run well beyond 350 km/h (217 mph). Before the F1 came along, Jaguar held the production car speed record with the 349 km/h (217 mph) XJ220. Pushing beyond the past high watermark was a leap of faith, with no guarantee it wouldn't end in a massive fireball.

"Reverse back to 1998 when we did this, speeds over 350 [km/h] were unheard of," says Andy Wallace, who drove the F1 on its record run. "Yes, people were doing land speed records considerably faster than that, but they're not doing that on rubber tires. I didn't really know what to think, but I remember I had seriously sweaty palms on the steering wheel!"

You can check out the full behind-the-scenes look at the McLaren F1 breaking the production speed record in the video below. We have sweaty palms from watching it, so just imagine what it was like for Wallace, who sits in the driver's seat and talks you through what's happening with the speedo needle pushing 400 km/h (249 mph). Of course, the final confirmed top speed was slightly slower than that – the official figure is an average calculated over two runs in opposite directions.

The story behind the McLaren F1 and its record-breaking 240.1mph top speed

Source: McLaren

3 comments
guzmanchinky
I've never quite understood the whole top speed race. I'd so much rather have the Tesla's 0-60 punch and amazing handling (which the Tesla lacks).
ljaques
I would love to drive that at 390kph, or much slower around a track at 2Gs. And I'm with you, Guz, in wanting bone-breaking acceleration AND to have it stick to the ground hard in turns. The heavy batteries in the Tesla lower its performance in the twisties, I guess.
McDesign
I love his comment, "It will NOT go any faster than 391 . . . pause . . .well, that's quite fast, isn't it?