Decades ago, a dominant Formula One team made a few dozen examples of a sports car that was as devastating on the track as it was on the road, and as such, it has become highly sought-after by collectors willing to pay millions - even tens of millions - for the privilege of ownership. We have to be talking about the Ferrari 250 GTO, right? We very well could be, but in this case, no: we're talking about the McLaren F1 - a legendary supercar whose values seem to be skyrocketing in the footsteps of its arch-rival's most iconic classic. And if this latest pre-auction estimate is anything to go by, it will only continue to climb as quickly as it accelerates.
The past couple of McLaren F1s on whose sales we've reported traded hands for over $5 million apiece and we thought that was pretty spectacular, but this latest example consigned to Gooding & Company for its upcoming sale at Pebble Beach has an expected selling price of between $12 million and $14 million.
Chassis No. 031, a 1995 model, is a bit of a rarity in that it's one of only a handful of McLaren F1s painted in white, and the only one in this particular shade of Marlboro White, adopting the color of the grand prix team's title sponsor at the time. It's had only three owners who've put barely over 1,000 miles on the odometer, starting in Japan, where it resided with collector Shin Okamoto for 15 years before he sold it to a collector in Chicago, who in turn sold it to its current owner who's putting it up for auction. The 27th example built, it's said to be in "highly original" condition, was extensively serviced at the McLaren factory as recently as 2008, and comes with all its original manuals, tools and fitted luggage.
Is all of that enough to make this 1995 McLaren F1 worth more than twice what they've been going for? If someone pays it, we suppose it will. But the McLaren isn't even the most expensive lot consigned for the auction. Little surprise, it'll have to compete with a number of much older Ferrari models for that honor: a 250 GT SWB California Spider is estimated to fetch $13-15 million, the estimate for a similar coupe has not even been released, and a rare three-seater 1966 Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale could go for over $20 million.
Continue reading Will this McLaren F1 sell for over $12 million at Pebble Beach?
Episode #391 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Mike Harley and Brandon Turkus talk about the appointment of Kumar Galhotra to run Lincoln, changes coming for Scion, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, and which cars won't live into 2015. We also take a quick detour to talk about the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype, which Mike Harley just came back from driving. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the new rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #391:
2015 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Prototype
New boss at Lincoln
Scion xB, iQ ending soon
Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Cars that won't live to 2015
In the Autoblog Garage:
Hosts: Dan Roth, Michael Harley, Brandon Turkus
Intro and Garage - 00:00
Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge - 30:05
Kumar Galhotra to Lincoln - 34:32
Scion Changes - 43:58
Dodge Charger Hellcat - 54:25
Discontinued Cars - 01:06:24
Q&A - 01:22:59
Get the podcast:
[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
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Three Free Practice sessions left us thinking Lewis Hamilton looked good to claim another victory for Mercedes AMG Petronas and close up the Driver's World Championship race, but the first qualifying session for the 2014 Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix threw out that script. A fuel leak in Q3 set Hamilton's car aflame and he never set a time. His chassis damaged beyond repair, the team built him a new one and he started from pit lane. That same session also claimed Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen, when a bad call about whether to go out again dropped him down to 17th and out for the day.
Without a real challenge, that put Hamilton's teammate-slash-nemesis Nico Rosberg on pole in the other Mercedes, followed by a resurgent Sebastian Vettel in the first Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Valtteri Bottas in the first Williams and Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull. Fernando Alonso waved the scarlet in fifth for Ferrari but figured he could be in third place by the end of the first lap. Felipe Massa put the second Williams in sixth, followed by Jenson Button in the first McLaren, Jean-Eric Vergne getting up to eighth for Toro Rosso, Nico Hülkenberg in ninth for Force India and Kevin Magnussen in the second McLaren.
When rain poured on the 4.381-kilometer Hungaroring before the race, every script up and down the field got rewritten, and they would continue come in for revision almost every one of the 70 laps.
Continue reading Race Recap: 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix a thrilling wet mess
McLaren, Ferrari and Porsche have all come out with their hybrid-powered hypercars, vehicles that boast the bleeding edge of what is possible with today's road-car technology. The next step, at least in the case of McLaren and Ferrari, is to push that bleeding edge just a hair further, with even faster, more focused versions of the P1 and LaFerrari. At the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, McLaren will be the first to give us a glimpse of that boundary-pushing machine.
The British automaker has announced that the P1 GTR Design Concept will make its global debut smack dab in the middle of Monterey's legendary car week, with the veil lifting on Friday, August 15 at 6:00 PM EST.
McLaren doesn't go into many specifics here, simply calling the P1 GTR a track-focused variant of the P1, which we kind of already knew. Based on what we can see from the lone teaser sketch, the new model will have a much more dramatic aerodynamic presence than the street model, with a massive rear wing and a huge rear diffuser. Sandwiched between those two items are a pair of exhaust tips that wouldn't look out of place on the deck of your average battleship. Carbon fiber should feature prominently, with a few exposed sections of the stuff visible in the teaser image.
Production is slated to begin promptly after the final P1 street car rolls off the Woking production line, sometime in June 2015. Of course, we'll have much, much more on the P1 GTR when it makes its debut at Pebble Beach. Keep an eye on this space come August 15. Until then, scroll down for the official press release from McLaren.
The 2014 German Formula 1 Grand Prix is the hump-day race in the season and the penultimate chance for drivers and teams to rack up points before the summer break. Trying to stay on top after his first DNF of the year at the British Grand Prix, Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Nico Rosberg didn't have to wait until the race for misfortune to find Lewis Hamilton; his British teammate crashed out of the Q2 qualifying session due to a brake failure, then had to change his gearbox due of the crash, a calamity that left him starting 20th on the grid.
Rosberg took pole ahead of the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, with Kevin Magnussen surprising everyone with a fourth place in his McLaren. Daniel Ricciardo put the first Infiniti Red Bull Racing in fifth, ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari pilot Fernando Alonso, Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat, the Force India pair of Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Perez finishing the top ten.
In a replay of events in Britain but with a German accent, a first-lap incident brought out the Safety Car and the same Brazilian was taken out of the race.
Continue reading Race Recap: 2014 German Grand Prix is relapse and recovery
Qualifying for the British Formula One Grand Prix was just as much a surprise for fans as it was for teams. Certain team weather radar displays didn't accurately pinpoint storm systems over the track, and in the case of at least two teams, the lack of data was compounded by poor decision making. That's how both Ferraris and both Williams got kicked out of qualifying in Q3 - the drivers already on track took advantage of a dry spell between rains, but Ferrari and Williams waited too long to get back out, and by the time they did it had started raining again.
Rain-induced bewilderment hit the front of the field as well. When all appeared resolved in Q3 but the clock hadn't yet run down to zero, drivers including Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo pulled into the pits thinking the day was done. However, a drying last sector of the Silverstone circuit meant the drivers still out could suddenly improve their times by four seconds in just that sector. When the bell tolled, those who fought to the last were those who lined up first: Nico Rosberg in the first Mercedes AMG Petronas, Sebastian Vettel in the first Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Jenson Button in the McLaren, Nico Hülkenberg in the first Force India and Kevin Magnussen in the second McLaren.
Hamilton had fallen all the way to sixth on the grid, a mortifying blow to his race and his championship challenge. He was followed by Sergio Perez in the second Force India, Ricciardo in the second Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso teammates Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne completing the top ten.
When the green lights went out, the weather stayed bright, but ill winds blew on track for some.
Continue reading Race Recap: 2014 British F1 Grand Prix readjusts the balance of power
It doesn't usually matter what number an automaker puts on the side when it reveals a new racecar, but when McLaren introduced its new 650S GT3 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this past weekend, it wore the number 59. It was the same number which the McLaren F1 GTR wore when it took the checkered flag at Le Mans in 1995, and now word has it that the British outfit could be plotting a return.
The new 650S racer was designed to meet the GT3 regulations used in second-tier sportscar racing series around the world, like the Blancpain Endurance Series and the Pirelli World Challenge. Top-tier series like the FIA World Endurance Championship and United SportsCar Championship, however, use their own GTE regulations (adapted from the previous GT2 regulations). Discussions over converging the two sets of rules (like DTM and Super GT have since) had commenced when McLaren GT was developing the previous 12C GT3, but those discussions ultimately fell apart, keeping the two categories separate... and in separate series.
Autosport reports, however, that in redesigning the 650S GT3, McLaren's GT racing division kept that disparity in mind so that the GT3 could be set up as well in GTE spec, enabling it to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and associated series like the WEC, United SportsCar Championship, European Le Mans Series and Asian Le Mans Series.
We're waiting on word from McLaren as to the verasity of the report, but even if a 650S GTE would stand little chance of overtaking the faster LMPs like the F1 GTR did nearly 20 years ago, it would still be interesting to see McLaren (whether as a works entry or through customer teams) competing at Le Mans again.
When McLaren rolled out its new 650S, we knew it would only be a matter of time before it would completely replace the 12C altogether. And that would include the racing version - not least because McLaren officials told us as much. And with the Goodwood Festival of Speed now getting underway in the UK, Woking's GT racing division has revealed its new GT3-spec racer.
The new McLaren 650S GT3 benefits from several key upgrades over the MP4-12C GT3 that's been competing for the past three seasons in racing series like the Blancpain Endurance Series and GT Asia championship - both of whose standings it currently leads - as well as the Pirelli World Challenge, European Le Mans Series and countless local racing series.
For starters, McLaren gave its GT racer a new face that not only more closely resemble the 650S (which, like the previous GT3, is also based on the 12C's chassis) but, along with the rest of the revised bodywork (and some rather intriguing-looking wing mirrors), is also more aerodynamically efficient to provide more downforce, better cooling and less drag. McLaren says the 650S GT3 also has a wider track, revised suspension geometry and will cost privateer teams less to run in whichever series they choose thanks to more robust components and a powertrain that can run longer between rebuilds. The cockpit has also been updated to make it more accommodating for drivers who often have to run it over long distances around the clock.
McLaren's familiar 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 provides the motivation, mated to a six-speed competition-spec sequential gearbox. But while the same engine produces 641 horsepower in road-going spec, the FIA's Balance of Power regulations mandate it be limited to 493 hp. That actually makes it the least powerful model McLaren makes, but then, of course, the same regulations apply to all the cars against which it will be competing, so customer teams will be counting on the other revisions to help them stay at out ahead of GT3-spec versions of models like the Porsche 911 GT3, Aston Martin V12 Vantage, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Ferrari 458 Italia and Bentley Continental GT.
McLaren GT says it plans to build 15 examples in time for the start of next season, each selling for £330,000 (before tax, or about $560k). However, teams already running the current 12C GT3 will have the opportunity to upgrade theirs to 650S spec as well. Scope out the full details in the press release below.
Continue reading McLaren rolls out new competition-spec 650S GT3
When things get under way at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend, McLaren will be among the automakers revealing new metal. The F1-team-turned-automaker is expected to reveal the GT3 racing version of the new 650S, but will also have a new special edition of the same to show off to prospective buyers and supercar enthusiasts alike.
Previewed in concept form just a couple of months ago, the 650S by McLaren Special Operations offers a number of upgrades over the existing supercar. Supervised by Woking's design director Frank Stephenson, the MSO 650S features satin-finish carbon-fiber exterior components, a three-piece rear bumper, a more aggressive rear diffuser, 10-spoke lightweight diamond-cut alloys and an interior decked out in black leather, Alcantara, glossy trim and more satin-finish carbon.
Buyers will be able to choose between coupe and Spider in one of three special metallic paint finishes: Agrigan Black (with a ruby red flake) as previewed on the concept, Papaya Spark that reinterprets McLaren's signature orange and the above-pictured Sarigan Quartz silver with "a subtle gold infusion." Regardless of the color or body style, however, only 50 examples of the MSO 650S will be offered, starting at £252,500 in fixed-roof form. That represents a premium of more than £50,000 ($85k) over the stock 650S, for an approximate US sticker of $350,000.
Continue reading McLaren Special Operations showing limited-edition 650S at Goodwood
The last time Formula One raced in Spielberg, Austria the track was called the A1 Ring, Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher were the pilots for Williams, the field contained other not-so-venerable names like Ralph Firman and Justin Wilson and V10 engines were bolted to the bulkheads - the only Mercedes units being in the backs of the two McLarens, one of which was driven by Kimi Räikkönen, who finished second behind Michael Schumacher.
The return to an old-school Formula One track - now called the Red Bull Ring - after 11 years away put an old-school team on the front row, Felipe Massa in a Williams getting his first pole position since 2008, followed by teammate Valtteri Bottas. Behind them came Nico Rosberg in the first Mercedes AMG Petronas, Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo for Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Kevin Magnussen for McLaren, Danil Kvyat in his Toro Rosso, Räikkönen in the second Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton in the second Mercedes way back in ninth - he'd spun on his final timed lap after having his previous effort disqualified for going wide at Turn 8 - Nico Hülkenberg in the Force India in tenth after opting not to set a time at all in Q3.
It's a shame the well of nostalgia wasn't deep enough to give us some proper old-school racing.
Continue reading Race Recap: 2014 Austrian Grand Prix is old-school front row, new-school racing