The Battle of two Legends

McLaren F1 GTR vs F1 GTR 'Longtail'

There is no question that the McLaren F1 GTR is a Legendary race car. Winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans on it's first try, racing in over 120 races, winning 38 races and 3 constructors championships throughout its three years of racing. There were two racing variants developed by McLaren, the standard F1 GTR (if you can call a McLaren F1 GTR 'standard') that raced in '95-'96 and the F1 GTR 'Longtail' that raced in '97. The '95-'96 car was largely based on the existing roadcar with a front race splitter and rear wing. The '95 F1 GTR did so well that all the competition had to rush to build something to compete against is. In '96 Porsche debuted the 911 GT1, which was pretty much a full out race car they homologated for the street. The F1 GTR did not fair as well in the '96 season so McLaren designed an updated F1 GTR dubbed the Longtail for '97. The '97 car was redesigned and was more "race car" with longer over hangs, more efficient aerodynamics and a larger wing. Check out my write up on the McLaren F1 GTR Longtail chassis 25R - drivetribe.com/p/mclaren-f1-gtr-longtail-chassis-XL5amoptR0GljRKdzq1C5g?iid=NRQdnFPkRX6RVgHEuUbcKw There were a total of 28 F1 GTR's built, 18 standard GTR spec and 10 'Longtail' spec. though there were a number of differences between the two versions the exterior is the most noticeable and well known.

Lets start at the front: The over hangs on the Longtail are a longer then the GTR. On the Longtail the shape is also lower and more aerodynamic, it tapers down to a smaller leading edge, has a revised front splitter and canards. The headlights have also been updated and elongated to flow with the revised front end. There is also a much larger air intake scoop on the roof. All of these frontal changes helped the car cut through the air cleaner.

You can really see how McLaren sculpted the front end for better aerodynamic air flow.

You can really see how McLaren sculpted the front end for better aerodynamic air flow.

Check out the headlight differences and the lower openings.

Check out the headlight differences and the lower openings.

The back: This is where the major differences are. The rear over hang of the Longtail is much longer than the standard GTR. (as seen in the picture below) The rear deck on the Longtail is a little lower as well as having an integrated dovetail spoiler. Lastly, there is a massive single element wing on the Longtail. Other differences can be notice in the lower rear valence. The Longtail has a more pronounced and sculpted diffuser and is actually more curvy to account for the added fender flairs.

You can see the differences in the rear of the car from the door back.

You can see the differences in the rear of the car from the door back.

In this view you can see how much the Longtail was sculpted to help with air flow.

In this view you can see how much the Longtail was sculpted to help with air flow.

Overall, I am not sure which one is better, I certainly cannot decide. Each was designed and built based on its competition. Yes, the Longtail was faster, but that was because it was a more developed race car. The '95 GTR that won Le Mans a roadcar that was converted to a race car, that just does not happen anymore in racing.

Throughout its many years of racing the McLaren F1 GTR had many legendary liveries. These two, the Ueno Clinic and the Gulf Davidoff being my two favorites. It is awesome to have both of these cars in my collection. Below is a poll of which version/ livery you prefer.

Thanks again for reading.

Join In

Comments (6)

  • Beautiful

      3 months ago
  • As much as I love the gulf (my dad had a gulf station), nothing can really beat that weird plastic surgery place's livery for sheer historical lols.

      3 months ago
    • Very true. Whenever I tell people what the company actually is they all start laughing. That sponsor definitely would not be a sponsor nowadays.

        3 months ago
  • I really like the longtail because in my opinion the short tail on the stock F1 doesn't look good at all. The longer tail makes it look much more elegant.

      3 months ago
    • I did not know how many actual differences there were between the two until I got my longtail. I agree the longtail has a much better flow with its elongated coke bottle shape.

        3 months ago
  • This is giving me life. Love it

      3 months ago
6