In 1997, the F1 GTR LT took Le Mans by storm. Its maker pays tribute…
By John Howell / Tuesday, 17 May 2022 / Loading comments
“Is this the secret door that I’ve heard so much about,” asks Daniel Ricciardo? “It may well be,” replies Ian Howshall, McLaren’s Global Product Manager. And if you want to find out what lies behind this ‘secret’ door, then spend a moment – well, 10 minutes – to check out this video, which is a conversation between Ricciardo and Howshall, as the latter explains to the ever-enthusiastic Honey Badger how the Longtail legend came about.
First up, of course, the Gulf-liveried McLaren F1 GTR Longtail. It is a pretty special-looking thing, it has to be said. One of my personal favourite cars, actually. Howshall talks about the need to create it and what was involved, including lopping 100kg out of its running mass. This fact leaves Ricciardo wide-eyed. “If we can save 100g [out of an F1 car] we’re killing it,” he says.
Howshall goes on to describe how the GTR laid the blueprint for the road-going LT models to follow – i.e. taking out weight, changing the bodywork for increased aerodynamic downforce, improving the chassis dynamics, upgrading the powertrain.
Ricciardo hardly seems to need telling: “this was the first sportscar I purchased,” he exclaims when confronted with the 675LT. It was blue, in case you’re wondering. Apparently for a total hand, it was like a go kart – because you could “throw it around and play with it.” Classic Honey Badger.
Next up is the 600LT, based on the 570 S, and the talk of those famous flames that shot out from its high-set exhausts – and how these dictated the materials use for the rear wing. And then there’s the 765 LT Spider, which Ricciardo tells us he used while in California and “in the most positive way possible it scared the **** out of me. It is so fast.” Now, for a current F1 driver to say that it means something. Having driven just the regular 720S, I’m not sure it was for effect, either.
There are more snippets for fans of McLaren’s road cars in here, so it’s well worth investing 10 minutes in. Which one of the cars shown would Ricciardo take away with him? All is revealed at the end…
- McLaren 765LT | PH Review
- McLaren 600LT Spider | PH Review
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