McLaren unveils 650S Le Mans in tribute of the famed ‘95 race

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Famed British car-maker McLaren has long been known for its record-breaking sports cars and commitment to excellence both on and off the track. In keeping with this legacy of superior racing and in celebration of their 20th anniversary of the famed Le Mans race, McLaren is releasing the limitededition McLaren 650S Le Mans to pay homage to the victory that made McLaren a legend in the automotive world.

However, far from simply placing first in Le Mans in 1995, the McLaren F1 crossed the finish line five times in the race, with McLaren drivers placing first, third, fourth, fifth and 13th overall. This is a true testament to the legacy of excellence of McLaren and its cars, as well as the Le Mans itself, which in its own right is one of the world’s most prestigious events in the automotive industry.

At the time the McLaren F1, which was produced from 1992-1998, was considered amongst the top super cars of the decade. The F1’s chief engineer Gordon Murray intentionally designed the car to be the fastest production car in the world at the time, reaching 240 mph when originally tested in Germany.

One of the original designers of the McLaren F1, Peter Stevens, commented on the car in a press release, touching on how the new model, matches up with the famed original.

“The design of the McLaren F1 rewrote the rulebook,” explained Stevens in an interview with Top Speed. “It was intended to offer the ultimate, no compromise road driving experience. The fact that it was transformed into a racer, and a race winner, was true testament to the strength and integrity of the original design, which is something I am very proud of.”

When asked about the new model and how it brings the flare of the F1 into the modern era, Stevens remarked that, “With a mix of subtle design traits, the 650S le mans adds a modern twist by blending the iconic lines of the McLaren F1, and heritage features such as the wing louvres and the roof-mounted air intake, with ground-breaking technologies. It is a fantastic homage to that original design, and to the incredible race result achieved by the team in 1995 at one of the most difficult, and most challenging races in the world”.

According to Stevens, the company’s F1 sports model launched in 1992 and was originally intended for roads, but was quickly readjusted for track racing by using light-weight materials, as well as the famed “snorkel” air intake system mounted on its roof.

Another unique feature of the original F1 was its intake channels airflow system that, when coupled with its twin-turbo V8 engine, made for a car that was both smooth on the road as well as fast.

What to expect from the 650S Le Mans:

The 650S Le Mans will feature a set of light-weight racing wheels, which are 19 and 20 inches in diameter for the front and back respectively. In keeping with the legacy of the F1, it will feature rims modelled after the original racer, which are mounted in front on a system of ceramic brakes.

Carbon fibre was also used through much of the Le Mans design, with the bumper and the front splitter both being made out of carbon to help reduce overall drag on the car by cutting off all airflow with the front spoilers.

In terms of speed, The McLaren 650s is capable of going from zero to 100 in about three seconds, with a top speed of over 350 km per hour.

As for the aesthetic design of Le Mans, each of the released cars will feature metallic grey paint, with leather interior and of course, the two infamous black seats with orange trim seat, a clear nod to the aesthetics of the earlier F1.

McLaren’s legacy in the automotive world:

While McLaren is universally acknowledged as one of the world’s most respected car companies, little credit is given to its significance in influencing Elon Musk in his early years.

Following the sale of Zip2, a software company that he co-founded with his brother, Musk made $22 million of his 7 per cent share and used some of this to buy his first ‘real car’, which happened to be a McLaren F1.

“There are 62 McLarens in the world, and I own one of them,” said Elon Musk in an interview with his then fiancée Justine Wilson.

Musk would later go on to revolutionize the automotive industry when in 2014, he released all the patents to his electric engines, essentially turning the sum of his life’s works into public domain, proving his commitment to human advancement over profit.

In fact, according to Musk, the Tesla Model S P85D notable for being the fastest sedan in the world after brutally defeating the Challenger SRT Hellcat in a test race took its inspiration from the McLaren F1.

All in all, the McLaren Le Mans 650S is truly the car that dreams are made of, especially if your dreams are driving so fast that even police won’t dare to stop you. Available globally in 2015, the McLaren will sell exactly 50 of the re-make for approximately €244,500.

McLaren 650S Le Mans Specs
  • Make: Mclaren 650S Le Mans
  • Price: €244500
  • Horsepower @ RPM: 640 @ 7250
  • Displacement: 3.8 L
  • 0-60 time: 3 sec.
  • The famous black and orange seat, synonymous with McLaren
  • Engine: 3.8-Liter Turbo V-8
  • Output (HP@RPM): 640 @ 7,250
  • Torque (LB-FT @ RPM): 500@ 6,000
  • Transmission: Seven-Speed Dual Clutch
  • 0-100 KM/H (62 MPH): 3.0 s
  • Top Speed: 340 km/h
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