Behind the scenes as the McLaren F1 hit 242.9mph | Top Gear
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Behind the scenes as the McLaren F1 hit 242.9mph

Andy Wallace gives the unheard back story on his 1998 McLaren v-max

Published: 27 Jan 2017
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In a matter of days, McLaren will reveal its all-new supercar – the Monocage II based, bi-turbo V8-powered ‘P14’. Target: Ferrari 488 GTB, Lamborghini Huracan Performante, and low-to-middling cruise missiles. This year is shaping up to be another stormer for Woking’s finest exports.

Meanwhile, this year also marks the 25th anniversary of McLaren’s legendary F1. A perfectly good reason to revisit the moment it cemented its place among performance car royalty, by achieving a maximum speed (albeit a two-way average) of 240.14mph, with the 627bhp V12’s rev-limiter removed.

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The F1’s charge into history took place on 31 March 1998 at the Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany, a facility now synonymous with the v-max feats of the car that usurped the F1’s dominance in top speed top trumps: the Bugatti Veyron.  

To celebrate the quarter-century of the F1’s record run, McLaren’s released this video of never-before-seen footage from the day, including a remarkable back story from driver (and Le Mans winner) Andy Wallace. His infectious enthusiasm and superbly understated commentary just about overshadow Gordon Murray’s mullet as the most entertaining thing in this video.  

Then again, just listen to that V12 climbing into a rev band road-legal F1s never quite reached. Turn your speakers up and enjoy.

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