- The McLaren P1 GTR was launched at the 2015 Geneva Motorshow, but first it took on the mighty F1 GTR at Cadwell Park


In March 2015, the McLaren P1 GTR and 675 'Long Tail' both set the supercar among the pigeons when they broke cover at the Geneva Motorshow.

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Two months earlier, however the P1 had been dressed up in an iconic livery and was wheeled out into the pit lane at Cadwell Park, in Lincolnshire for a secret showdown with its formidable predecessor, the McLaren F1 GTR.

Ten years earlier, that very McLaren F1 was rolled out on to the grid for the 24 hour Le Mans race in France, resplendent in it's now iconic green and yellow Harrods livery. British motor racing legend, Derek Bell prepared to start the race, with son Justin and fellow Brit Andy Wallace.

The car sealed its legend status, coming home third in the world's most famous motor race, and quite literally self-applying itself to the bedroom walls of young petrolheads all over the world in doing so.

I was among those young petrolheads, and though 1995 preceded my being appointed Circuit Manager of Cadwell Park by 22 years, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck when I saw the video of these two GT gladiators going wheel-to-wheel at the world's most evocative motor racing circuit.

In a further fitting twist, MotorSport Vision's CEO Jonathan Palmer - owner of Cadwell Park of course - was the test driver for the McLaren F1 road car project, working alongside the legendary Gordon Murray to develop undoubtedly the most iconic supercar of a generation.

Back to that atmospheric day in January, though. And believe me since finding out these cars took to the circuit at Cadwell I've quizzed everyone I could find who was working that day! The circuit was closed to the public, the cars brought in on covered trailers, and the whole operation was shrouded in the secrecy you'd expect of a launch of this profile.

"the hairs stood up on the back of my neck when I saw the video of these two GT gladiators going wheel-to-wheel at the world's most evocative motor racing circuit."

As anyone who has been involved in filming a car at any level knows, it takes a fair amount of time to put together what ends up being a short piece of work. So a full day and running into darkness to capture those Le Mans-esque shots of the cars cresting the famous Cadwell 'Gooseneck' will have seemed like a long day for the Marshals and track ops team running the day.

However, I bet not one of them complained - these were two of the world's most high profile racing cars, and they were being filmed near Louth, in Lincolnshire ahead of a glitzy global launch at the Geneva Motorshow in two months' time.

It's one of those days you wish you'd been there for, as everyone who I've spoken to about the day but who for whatever reason wasn't at work, has said.

I've been lucky enough to experience some special days like that myself at the circuit, including Jeremy Clarkson filming a Lotus Cortina for The Grand Tour, a recent Top Gear episode being shot at the circuit, Carl Fogarty doing a secret test for an 'almost' comeback, and rally driving hero Mark Higgins testing a very special version of the Subaru Impreza rally car ahead of a record attempt in Eastern Europe. Perhaps I'll tell you about some of those, too one day.

Here's the film - full copyright owned by McLaren Cars...

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