From 1995 to 1997, McLaren built only 28 units of the F1 GTR, the racing variant of its road-going McLaren F1. Chassis number 01R was the car that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995. Though none of the other units could replicate this result, all but one saw track action at Le Mans or various other championships across the globe.
The unit pictured above is chassis number 25R. One of eight F1 GTR 'Longtail' cars built in 1997, it was originally commissioned by the Gulf-Davidoff team for GT racing. After failing to finish Le Mans that year, it was sold to a Japanese team and went on to race in Japan until 2005, eventually becoming the last F1 GTR to compete in a contemporary racing series.
Now, if you think the 25R is looking pretty immaculate for a car that has racked up eight years' worth of track abuse, that's because it has spent the last 18 months being worked on by McLaren Special Operations. Fully restored to 'as new' condition, it was unveiled at the Hampton Court Concours of Elegance as the very first unit to be authenticated under McLaren’s new F1 Certified program.
All 106 units F1 and F1 GTR built from 1993 to 1998 are eligible for the F1 Certified scheme, which "authenticates a car's provenance, originality, service life, road/race history, and condition." A unit must conform with the original specification and have only McLaren-sanctioned upgrades to be given a Certificate of Authenticity. Factory archives will be used to verify the cars, so replicas and knockoffs, no matter how meticulously built, need not apply.
As the poster child for the F1 Certified program, the 25R underwent a "ground-up restoration...using new old-stock parts." McLaren adds that these parts—which include brand-new panels, Le Mans-specific gearing, and blue roof identification lights cribbed from an aircraft wing—were manufactured before June 1997, "ensuring the car is exactly as it would have been in the run up to Le Mans that year." The exterior also wears the original Gulf-Davidoff team livery and the 25R's Le Mans number (39).
"McLaren cherishes its rich heritage of iconic and world-beating cars such as the F1," says Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive. "The 25R presented us with a unique opportunity to demonstrate this by restoring it to precisely how it was when it raced at Le Mans in 1997, thus ensuring its future. Maintaining the integrity of these historically significant cars is paramount, and F1 Certified will play a big role in allowing us to do that for the peace of mind of owners today as well as preserving a wonderful heritage for future generations of car lovers."
Check out 10 more images of the car below: