Ex-BMW Motorsport McLaren F1 GTR

1997 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail

Offered by Gooding & Company | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 18, 2014

1997 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail

Photo – Gooding & Company

We’ve actually already featured a 1997 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail, so this is kind of awkward. What makes this car different? Well, for one, it is an ex-BMW Motorsport F1 GTR Longtail. Why is that distinction important? Because that was the closest approximation to a factory McLaren F1 race team.

The first F1 GTRs were built for 1995 and 1996 but the rules of racing changed for 1997. There were specialty-built prototype race cars backed by major manufacturers that came into the fold. Instead of building a race car around a road car (which is the case with the McLaren), companies built homologation specials of their race cars in order to make them “road-car-based.” The F1 had a slight handicap.

But it didn’t matter because Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and the like didn’t have Gordon Murray in their corner. The F1 was re-designed with an elongated nose and tail and a huge rear wing. The engine was a BMW Motorsport-sourced 6.0-liter V-12 detuned to make 604 horsepower (the road car made 627 with slightly larger displacement – that’s how incredible it really was).

This was BMW Motorsport car #1 (chassis #021R). It’s competition history includes:

  • 1997 FIA GT Hockenheim – 1st (with JJ Lehto and Steve Soper)
  • 1997 FIA GT British Empire Trophy at Silverstone – 3rd (with Lehto and Soper)
  • 1997 Helsinki 3 Hours – 1st (with Lehto and Soper)
  • 1997 Nürburgring 4 Hours – 3rd (with Lehto and Soper)
  • 1997 3 Hours Laguna Seca – 36th, DNF (with Lehto and Peter Kox)

And that was it for this car. After 1997, the F1 GTR program came to a halt. BMW traded this car to another McLaren team and the new owner loaned it to the Le Mans Museum for a little bit before selling it at the end of 2001. The new American owned had McLaren restore the car in 2002 to its original 1997 FINA racing colors.

In 2006, it was acquired by a German who actually used the car on track for the first time since 1997. Only 10 GTR Longtails were built (all in 1997) and this is as close to a factory race team example as there is. It was also the most successful BMW Motorsport Longtail with an impressive race history. Gooding & Company estimate that this car will bring between $5,000,000-$7,000,000 at auction in a few weeks. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding in Scottsdale.

Update: Sold $5,280,000.

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