CAR Magazine, June 1994: Into Orbit
My mind is blown. My soul corrupted. Absolute power has cast its spell. Solo or ménage a trois, I don’t mind. Put me back in the middle, behind the central wheel of the world’s fastest driving machine. I need more, another fix. Two days on the loose in McLaren’s three-seater megacar, and I’m hooked.
You would be, too. The 627-horsepower F1, which humbles all previous slingshot exotics, is just what design director Gordon Murray pledged it would be: the ultimate motoring experience, the closest sensation to a street-legal grand prix car. Forget Porsche’s 959, Ferrari’s F40, Jaguar’s XJ220, Bugatti’s EB110. They’re overweight, underpowered pussycats compared with McLaren’s BMW-powered blockbuster. The F1 not only trounces them emphatically, but does so with spine-tingling sound effects.
The F1 is more than a hedonistic plaything. We knew already that it was the fastest, most powerful road car we were ever likely to test: Jonathan Palmer’s 231mph at Nardo had put the McLaren firmly on pole for straight-line speed. We knew it was the most expensive, too: at £540,000, nothing else gets close for outrageous extravagance. That the F1 was the lightest, least compromised of the great modern supercars was ancient history. And that it embraced the Gospel according to Murray was engraved in stone, too. It took a talented team to put the F1 on the road, but Murray is the driving force behind it. The F1 is his car, his dream, his achievement.
We knew all these things and much, much more. What we didn’t know was what the McLaren F1 was like to drive. No-one outside the company bar a few prospective customers had driven an F1, never mind driven one in anger. CAR – who else? – would be the first to do so …
- Roger Bell / CAR Magazine / June 1994
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