To celebrate the domination of the McLaren F1 GTR race cars during the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, five unique cars, named McLaren Senna GTR LM, are being commissioned. The news was revealed by McLaren Special Operations (MSO) who revealed it was to honor the extraordinary motorsport achievement in 1995 that ended with their overall victory.
Named McLaren Senna GTR LM, the five cars which were customer- commissioned are the perfect illustration of what can be achieved when MSO takes on these novel and bespoke projects. Each car was created and designed to pay tribute to each of the five McLaren F1 GTRs that finished the 1995 Le Mans race. The team was highly successful, crossing the finish line at 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 13th positions. What makes this achievement additionally unique was that it was the first time that McLaren raced at Le Mans, and only three years since the McLaren F1, their first production car, was introduced.
The design of the five McLaren Senna GTR LM took at least 800 hours to paint, and each wear a bespoke, hand-painted livery that pays tribute or completely replicates the design of each of the 1995 cars.
Two cars are destined for the US, acquired through McLaren Orlando and McLaren North Jersey. One of the cars has paid tribute to the iconic Gulf liveried car, while the other car was a unique ‘art’ car dubbed as ‘The Cesar’ car. The latter was the most complex livery that the MSO ever took as it was said to have taken several thousand hours to complete.
“The incredible cars of the McLaren Senna GTR LM collection are an exceptionally fitting way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our Le Mans victory in 1995. That achievement is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest endurance racing performances of all time, but for McLaren, its importance was even greater because it demonstrated an immediate and undeniable connection between the racing DNA of our brand and the start of our road car journey.” according to CEO of McLaren Automotive, Mike Flewitt.
No detail was overlooked as each of the five cars were finished by hand by McLaren Special Operations. For a more authentic feel, special permissions to recreate logos and trademarks were requested from different brand owners like Harrods, Gulf, and even Le Mans organizer the Automobile Club de I’Ouest (ACO).
The GTR LM does not only come with impressive detailing and awesome liveries; each car comes with exclusive features and technical enhancements that make it even better than the already impressive track car it was based on. The McLaren Senna GTR was aerodynamically optimized to be able to create more than 205lbs of downward force. At the time, it was also designed to have the highest power-to-weight ratio of any McLaren.
Exclusive Features to the Cars
The upgrades that the McLaren Senna GTR LM include higher grade steel for the valve springs, hand-polished CNC ported cylinder heads, and a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-litre M840TQ engine with valve spring retainers made from metal matrix composite (MMC) that reduces the weight by 65%.
The powertrain electronics were also recalibrated, giving an increase of 19bhp from its predecessor, for a total of 833bhp. The torque curve characteristics were also changed to deliver more torque even at lower revs, making the rev limit set nearer to 9,000rpm instead of the ‘soft limit’ of 8,250rpm.
Specially designed LM twin-exit pipes were also added to the GTR’s Inconel exhaust system, which exits from the rear deck under the rear wing. OZ Racing was the one who provided the wheels of the McLaren F1 GTR, and for these special models; they created a bespoke, five-spoke GTR LM wheel design. The model also comes with brake calipers finished in satin gold, along with the suspension wishbones in an anodized version finished in the same color.
Interior of the GTR LM
The interior of the car features an exclusive racing steering wheel with anodized gold control buttons and gear shift paddles. Titanium nitride pedals carry the LM logos; door-pull straps are done in leather. Additional features include lightweight carbon fiber racing seats that are complemented by the bespoke headrest embroidery.
“The McLaren Senna GTR LM project has been a labor of love for nearly two years; we have gone to great lengths not only to perfect the engineering aspects of the cars but also to gain co-operation from brand holders and partners to maximize authenticity,” explained Ansar Ali, Managing Director of McLaren Special Operations
The Cars – Five Icons Reborn
McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/1
The McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/1 pays tribute to the McLaren F1/01R, the car that is often referred to as “The Ueno Clinic car,” and the actual winner of the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The men behind the wheel of number 59 were the Japanese veteran Masanori Sekiya, two-time Le Mans winner Yannick Dalmas, and former Formula One driver, JJ Lehto.
Although the 1995 24 Hour of Le Mans was considered to be one of the wettest in the race’s history, it actually became a strength for the McLaren F1. It especially worked for Lehto, whose speed in the wet was so impressive that his team actually warned him to slow down.
Back in 1995, the name of the relatively unknown Japanese sponsor at the time, Ueno Clinic, was branded on the charcoal grey livery. As a nod to history, the MSO team has recreated the brand on the McLaren Senna GTR LM, matching the exact color. This new color has been named ‘Ueno Grey’ – a proper tribute to the achievements of the three drivers and the Senna GTR.
The GTR LM’s owner made sure that the car was an authentic reproduction of the race-winning F1 GTR. No detail was left to chance. The owner even specially commissioned the unique driving lamps of car 59.
The wheels from OZ Racing had a matching grey finish, completing the look of car 59.
McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/6
A tribute to the McLaren F1/06R, also known as ‘The Harrods car.’
Car number 51 consisted of an all-British line up behind the wheel, namely, Derek Bell, Justin Bell, and Andy Wallace. During the 1995 Le Mans race they were in the lead until the car suffered a transmission glitch just a short 2 hours from the finish line. Fortunately, they were able to nurse the car home into the third position.
The logo of the iconic London department store, Harrods, sat boldly on the car’s yellow livery cut with a green stripe, and that design was reproduced in this GTR LM.
For the body of the car, the MSO paint team used a vivid color named Solar Yellow, with the recognizable wide green stripe is Heritage Green, which is shadowed with a similar green pinstripe and green detailing within the front aero diffuser.
McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/2
A tribute to the McLaren F1/02R, which was also called ‘The Gulf car.’
In 1995, Brits Ray Bellm and Mark Blundell along with Brazilian Maurizio Sandro Sala, ignored the lashing rain and drove 291 laps of La Sarthe, eventually securing fourth place.
The livery of Car number 24 is arguably the most iconic amongst the five cars. MSO recreated the Gulf Racing blue, as ‘Gulf 95 blue’, and it is just perfect for the McLaren Senna GTR LM. It has a ‘Gulf 95 Orange’ pinstripe tracing the rear wings’ LMP1-style endplates, rear diffuser, along the lower sill and unites at the front with vivid orange blades on the front splitter.
The OZ Racing wheels match the theme being finished in vivid orange, with the lower sills and roof stripe sporting a Gulf 95 Silver. The Gulf Oil logo is displayed on the bonnet and doors, while the boldly recreated signature of Ayrton Senna on the rear quarter of the bodywork provides the finishing touches.
McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/7
A tribute to the McLaren F1/07R, also often called ‘The Jacadi car.’
Giroix Racing, a French-based customer team, ran car number 50. Their line up contained Swiss pilot Jean-Denis Deletraz, along with French drivers Fabian Giroix and Olivier Grouillard. With car number 50, they were able to drive the car into 5th place, just a lap down from the Gulf car.
Car number 50 had proudly sported a French-themed look, and their royal blue livery was preserved by the new McLaren Senna GTR LM’s new owner, with the body of the car was covered ina brightly colored ‘Le Mans Blue’.
The Le Mans Blue was complemented by a metallic blue named ‘Polaris.’ It is further offset with the authentic Elf logos that was owned by the French oil company that sponsored the 1995 car. It is the only car amongst the five to sport the French Tricolour flag.
McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/5
A tribute to the McLaren F1/05R that was also nicknamed ‘The Cesar car.’
Car number 42 completed the McLaren honor roll of finishers by ending up in 13th place. It was run by French Team Société BBA and had an all-French line-up consisting of Marc Sourd, Jean-Luc Maury-Laribiere, and Hervé Poulin. Pioneering ‘art cars,’ Poulin and Maury-Laribiere had commissioned Cesar Baldaccini to envision a livery for the F1 GTR that they would be using at Le Mans.
Baldaccini used Poulin’s collection of racing trophies from his wins as an endurance racer for his inspiration for the design of the McLaren.
MSO made a modern interpretation of the McLaren F1/05R to the GTR LM, adding new elements like contemporary race trophies, pole position lap times, and Le Mans branding cues.
The McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/5 was a very complex project that MSO implemented many different techniques to produce, including extensive airbrushing. Amongst the five, this model took the longest to paint that even MSO stopped recording the time it took to finish, though they estimate that it took several thousand hours of work and the hard work shows on the GTR LM.
Work on all the five McLaren Senna GTR LM has now been completed. They will soon be delivered to clients in the UK, Europe, and the United States.
[Source: McLaren Automotive]