McLaren F1 GTR Le Mans 1997 – 1/18 Minichamps Model Team Goh

The McLaren F1: powered by a 6-liter, V12 engine specially designed by BMW, it had the unique feature of three front seats, with the driving position front and center. In all 106 units, including 28 destined for competition, were manufactured between 1993 and 1998.

After having drawn the interest of several teams and drivers, the McLaren F1 was modified to its racing version under the name F1 GTR. This 1/18 scale model manufactured by Minichamps represents one of these racing McLarens belonging to the Goh team and decked out in the LARK livery.

“To compete internationally for victory” is the slogan adopted by Kazumichi Goh, founder of Team Goh, the highly successful Japan based international auto racing team. His wealth of experience stretches as far back as 1976 when he was involved in the Formula One World Championship, but by 1996 he had formed his own team with a view to competing successfully on the international scene.

Competing as Team Lark McLaren GTR and running a pair of McLaren F1 GTRs, the team won the All-Japan Grand Touring Championship a full 30 points clear of their nearest rival. The Drivers’ Championship became a battle within the team itself with both drivers dominating the top two places. 1996 also became the first year, and so far the only year, that a non-Japanese manufacturer has taken the GT500 crown, which historically has become an incredible achievement. Team Goh had its first entry at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans with drivers Akihiko Nakaya, Keiichi Tsuchiya and Gary Ayles. The entry, Team Lark McLaren, competed in the LMGT1 category and the car was the McLaren F1 GTR, but unfortunately they were forced to retire from the race after just 87 laps

Gordon Murray, the original conceiver, designer and engineer of the McLaren F1, was given development prototype XP3 at the conclusion of the F1 project as stipulated in his contract with McLaren Cars Limited. At it’s launch, the F1 was selling at over £500K. Since then, prices have continued to climb and today examples change hands for prices that are just “eye watering” – £16M – yes sixteen million pounds sterling!! Gordon Murray sold his McLaren (the price is unknown) – he said he found himself not using it as it just became untenable to own. When one considers the current value of a car like that it must be difficult to use it regularly, any sort of accidental damage would be seriously expensive to put right never mind the potentially massive insurance premium!

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