It’s been a quarter century since the introduction of the McLaren F1. In honor of this anniversary, McLaren caught up with Gordon Murray, the car’s designer, to talk about it and the development process. In the above video, Murray reveals a number of fascinating facts about the freakishly fast F1. For instance, the center seat placement wasn’t solely to evoke the feeling of being in an F1 car. It was also done to avoid having the pedals offset strangely as with other supercars of the era.
Some of the most interesting facts concern the F1’s top speed. Murray says that when the car was being developed, he never set any sort of performance or speed target, which seems odd for a car that immediately became the fastest street-legal car on Earth. Rather, Murray said, “I just tried to do the best car I could from an engineering point of view.” The fact that the F1 was so fast was just a pleasant result.
When the topic of the the McLaren F1’s top speed comes up in the video, there is some fantastic footage of the car setting its top speed record. Apparently, according to Murray, the company had to disconnect the rev limiter in order for the car to set its record of 240 mph, and even climb to 243 mph (391 km/h). The driver, Andy Wallace, also exhibits textbook British understatement as he reaches 391 km/h. When he tops out he says, “It will not go anymore than 391. But anyway, 391’s quite fast, isn’t it?”