Twenty years ago, the then soon-to-be-launched McLaren F1 GTR began testing ahead of an assault on the 1995 GT season. The track derivative, rewrote the rule book and the claimed victories and titles across the globe in the years that followed, securing a place in motorsport folklore. Two decades on, and the covers have been pulled off the dramatic and purposeful McLaren P1 GTR design concept.
The McLaren P1 GTR will be the most track-tailored and most powerful model produced by McLaren Special Operations to date, with a clear target even more focused than its road-going sibling to be the best driver’s car in the world on track.
A host of changes have been made, and the car has been thoroughly re-engineered from the ground up to ensure the McLaren P1 GTR achieves its target of being the ultimate drivers’ car on track. The P1 GTR makes a combined 986 hp in GTR trim which is an 82-hp leap over the road car. Freed of road-car constraints, its front track is 80mm (3.1 in.) wider than the street version, it has a lower, fixed ride height, and a host of aerodynamic changes to better channel airflow into and around the car.
The ride height has been lowered. The car’s mirrors are now repositioned on the A-pillar to reduce drag and allow for better visibility. What’s more, the racer rides on a unique set of 19-inch lightweight motorsport alloy wheels – 10.5-inches wide at the front, 13-inches at the rear – and tire changes are easier managed thanks to an onboard air jacking system derived from the setup used on the 650S GT3 racecar.
You’d be forgiven for missing the subtler details, however, since your attention is likely drawn to the fully reworked rear end, which is as outlandish looking as it is impressive. Gone is the mechanical, stowable rear wing, replaced by a massive fixed unit outfitted with an F1-style drag-reduction system. The hyper-hybrid P1 also gets a push-to-pass feature similar in the vein of the energy recovery systems used in Formula 1.
Complementing the new rear wing, and equally functional in nature, is a wild-looking new rear diffuser. The P1 GTR’s new, custom Ionel/titanium exhaust, a free-flowing unit that ends in huge, center-mounted, double-barrel shotgun tips that extend out of the rear bodywork.
McLaren says the P1 GTR has one goal: “to be the best driver’s car in the world on track.” And with no intentions of making the thing road-legal, McLaren was able to freely put together this design concept, shows a car that looks capable of delivering the best in track-focused dynamics.
Launching with the McLaren P1 GTR design concept is the bespoke McLaren P1 GTR driver program which will include specialist driver training, human performance and access to the McLaren racing simulator. The simulator is designed to prepare each driver mentally and physically to fully exploit the abilities of the McLaren P1 GTR.
McLaren Special Operations will maintain and run all cars, and manage the program throughout. This will include working closely with a support team comprising authentic professionals that have operated within the rarefied world of professional motor sport. These will all be experts in their respective fields, all boasting top-level international experience from the Human Performance Program, race engineers, designers and test drivers.
The design concept unveiled at Pebble Beach wears a livery which harks back to the original McLaren to wear the GTR badge. During the rigorous testing program for the F1 GTR, the test car, chassis #01R, originally wore a distinctive orange and silver livery. This color scheme has been reinterpreted for the model, with the number, 01, signifying the original chassis number. That car eventually went on to take the coveted win at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans.