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Very Special McLaren F1 GTR Restored To Its Former Glory

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McLaren is also launching a new certification service for F1 owners.

McLaren has launched a new certification service for the iconic F1 allowing owners to verify the history of both road and track models. According to McLaren, the F1 Certified program aims to document the originality, service record, road and racing history and condition of every McLaren F1 that left the factory.

Out of the 106 McLaren F1s built between 1993 and 1998, 64 were road cars and the remaining 28 were GTR race cars. Each F1 Certified car receives a unique Certificate of Authenticity confirming its provenance. Owners also receive a bespoke illustrated book documenting the history of their car.

The first F1 approved for certification is the renowned 25R 1997 F1 GTR Longtail revealed at London's Concours of Elegance, which will be displayed at Hampton Court Palace until September 2. The F1 GTR has also received an extensive 18-month long restoration back to "as new condition" from McLaren Special Operations using original parts held by the factory. It's been returned to the same specification it had when it first raced at Le Mans in 1997, including the same distinctive Gulf Racing livery. Adding to the car's authenticity is the 'tall' Le Mans gearing and the blue roof identification lights taken from an aircraft's wing the car would have originally used.

"Even among F1 GTRs, this car, designated '25R', is unique – and now it is as near to being new as we can make it," said Ansar Ali, Managing Director at MSO. "The car is the exemplar of everything that the new certification programme stands for and we are proud to have 25R as the very first McLaren F1 Certified car."

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The 25R F1 GTR was one of three Longtail cars built for the Gulf-Davidoff team to compete in GT racing in 1997. It raced at Le Mans the same year but was forced to retire two hours before the end of the race due to an oil leak that caused the car to catch on fire. After being repaired by the factory, the car was sold to a team in Japan where it continued racing until 2005.

The same year, it became the last F1 GTR to ever compete in a contemporary race series. After being displayed in a Japanese collection, it was sold to the current owner and brought back to the UK in 2016. MSO then painstakingly restored the car to pristine condition using new, old-stock GTR parts "stored at the factory in containers last opened 20 years ago."

"McLaren cherishes its rich heritage of iconic and world-beating cars such as the F1," said CEO, Mike Flewitt. "Maintaining the integrity of these historically significant cars is paramount and F1 Certified will play a big role in allowing us to do that for the peace of mind of owners today as well as preserving a wonderful heritage for future generations of car lovers."