OK, so it’s not a BMW, but it is powered by a raucous BMW V12 displacing almost 6 liters (5,999cc) and making upwards of 600 bhp with a restrictor!
The original McLaren F1 was designed and engineered by Gordon Murray and production started in 1995. The GTR was designed for GT racing series like BPR Global GT Series, FIA GT Championship, JGTC, and British GT Championship. In 1997 the GT1 rules changes allowed for body modifications, the changes allowed for a much longer nose and tail, as well as a wider rear wing. Hence the name “Longtail”. At Le Mans 1997, the car reached 317 kilometers per hour (196.97 mph) on the Mulsanne straight!
Competing at Le Mans meant racing against many of their normal GT1 competitors from various series, as well as some unique cars which ran Le Mans only. McLaren first ran Le Mans in 1995, with all seven cars built at the time being entered. Although only six cars were being used in the BPR Global GT Series, chassis #01R which had been used as a McLaren test bed was also entered for the Kokusai Kaihatsu Racing team.
Prior to the race, it was assumed that a competitor in the WSC class of Le Mans Prototype would easily take the win, since they were custom built racing cars with no relation to street cars like GT1 cars. However during the race, various WSC cars succumbed to technical difficulties and dropped well down in the standings, while the GT1 class cars continued on without difficulty. In the closing hours of the race, five McLaren F1 GTRs were still racing while only three WSC cars remained.
A close battle in the final hours saw the Kokusai Kaihatsu McLaren competing against the Courage Competition prototype, with the McLaren finally taking the overall win in one of the shortest distances covered since the 1950s. Other McLarens finished 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 13th overall, with only two F1 GTRs failing to finish. In honor of McLaren’s achievement, the company created the five special F1 LMs for customers to mark the five finishers. The winning car, which was driven by Yannick Dalmas, Masanori Sekiya, and JJ Lehto, was retained by McLaren and never raced again
The car in today’s Super Bild is the official BMW Motorsport entry into the 1997 FIA GT1 class. Officially, BMW only entered this car for one season abandoning the series at the end of that same year.
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