That the McLaren F1 was never intended to be a race car didn't stop it becoming one of the greatest race cars of all time.
A number of extremely wealthy privateer drivers spotted the F1 would be perfect for the GT1 class of the BPR Global GT Championship and prevailed on designer Gordon Murray to turn his masterpiece into a competition machine. The F1 GTR debuted in 1995 and started winning immediately, famously taking victory in tricky conditions at Le Mans.
The GTR's winning ways continued into the 1996 BPR season. The race at Anderstorp, Sweden took place on 14 July, and McLaren has released on-board footage of the race to mark the 20th anniversary.
We ride in the #2 and #6 Gulf Racing/GTC Competition machines, driven by Ray Bellm/James Weaver, and Lindsay Owen-Jones/Pierre-Henri Raphanel.
Anderstorp is a gnarly track, with a long straight that doubles as a runway and several never-ending banked corners. It's extremely bumpy in places, too. As a result, car set-up is always a compromise, and you can see that here. While undoubtedly fast, the F1 GTR looks like a bit of a handful, as the huge slide towards the end of the clip shows. And don't forget the drivers had to manage a proper manual gearbox and anti-lock-free brakes while dealing with the handling issues.
Ironically, Anderstorp was the first race of the season that a McLaren didn't win. The Ennea Ferrari F40 GTE of Anders OIofsson/Luciano Della Noce picked up its only win of the year, while both Gulf Racing machines finished on the podium.
Bellm and Weaver put together a run of strong results, including four wins, to take the '96 BPR championship. Both continue to race in Historic machinery, while Raphanel now works as a Bugatti development driver and Owen-Jones retired as CEO of L'Oréal (really!) in 2011.