Three unique cars debuted in the 1990s – the McLaren F1, the Porsche 911 GT1, and the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR. The McLaren arrived first in 1992 before entering the GT1 racing category three years later. The McLaren’s success on the track tempted Porsche and then Mercedes to dethrone the F1, birthing the 911 GT1 in 1996 and the CLK GTR one year later.
The three pushed the boundaries of what was legal, blurring the line between a race car and a road car. The Porsche and Mercedes blurred that line more than the McLaren, though none prioritised comfort or features over pure performance. A new video from the Carfection YouTube channel reviews all three, comparing the road-going cars.
The video goes into great detail about each, dissecting how they were developed and how they fared competing on the track. The video also dives into the cars’ provenance after a detailed breakdown of the mechanical bits and performance numbers.
The McLaren F1 shocked the world with its performance numbers when production began in 1992, delivering 627 bhp (468 kilowatts) and 479 pound-feet (649 Newton-metres) of torque from its V12 engine. The three-seater could hit 60 miles per hour (97 kilometres per hour) in just 3.2 seconds. It had a top speed of 240.1 miles per hour (386 kilometres per hour).
The Porsche also achieved a sub-4.0-second zero-to-60 time with its flat-six, turbocharged engine that made 536 bhp (400 kW) and 443 lb-ft (600 Nm) of torque. However, the Porsche had a much lower top speed compared to the McLaren – 192 mph (308 kph). The CLK GTR also packed a V12, though it made 604 bhp (450 kW) and 572 lb-ft (775 Nm) of torque.
Not only do the three cars pack potent powertrains, but their interiors are laser-focused on driving. The McLaren’s three-seat layout still turns heads, while the Porsche and Mercedes sport more traditional-looking interiors. However, the Porsche’s roll cage makes getting in and out quite difficult, and the Mercedes’ door opening is so small that Mercedes designed the car with a removable steering wheel.
The Carfection video is worth the complete watch. The cars are amazing, and the mini-documentary highlights what makes these cars so great all these years later.