The McLaren F1 is a special car, but there are some versions of the iconic sports car that are more special than others, and here is just one of them. This is a F1 LM-Specification, and it recently sold for US$19,805,000 (RM82,816,588) at RM Sotheby’s auction during the Monterey Car Week.
Surprisingly, the final sum was less than the US$23 million that auction house expected for the ultra-rare hypercar, but it still makes this car the most expensive F1 ever sold at auction. Another 1998 example sold for US$13,750,000 (RM57,497,000) back in 2015, before being purchased by a private seller later on.
So, what makes this car so special? Well, following the F1’s victory at Le Mans in 1995, the carmaker built just five commemorative cars dubbed the F1 LM, which featured a high-downforce kit and the unrestricted version of the BMW-sourced 6.1 litre NA V12 with 680 hp and 705 Nm of torque.
By the end of the F1’s production run in 1997, McLaren had built 106 examples of the F1, including 64 production road cars, 28 F1 GTR race cars, five F1 LM examples, and two F1 GTs, as well as seven prototype and development cars.
However, the company later decided to convert two regular F1s to LM specification, with car chassis #073 and #018 being commissioned for the upgrade – the latter being what you see here.
Originally, this F1 was built in 1994 with a Midnight Blue Pearl exterior paint finish and black interior for a customer in Japan. It was then sold to a collector in Germany in 1999, who would sent the car back to McLaren’s facility in Surrey to be upgraded to LM specification.
The two-year process included installation of the high-downforce kit, a transmission cooler, two additional radiators, and a modified exhaust system. The car’s air-conditioning system was also upgraded, a radio was added to the CD player, the headlamps were changed to gas-discharge units, and the steering wheel was swapped for a 14-inch unit.
Additionally, the car was given a Platinum Silver Metallic paintjob, while the interior was re-trimmed with cream leather along with beige and brown Alcantara. This were complemented by cream Wilton carpets, and a beige Alcantara headliner.
The engine was also tuned to LM specification, while the dampers and springs were race-spec units, albeit adjusted to their softest setting to make road use more comfortable. Finishing touches include replacing the 17-inch wheels for 18-inch GTR units with Michelin Pilot Sport tyres.
A few years later in 2004, a Singapore collector acquired the car before selling it in 2007 to another person in New Zealand. The car was then returned to the factory for a thorough evaluation to ensure everything is up to par, and has been used for several events, hence its 21,500 km mileage at the auction block. This example is well documented and comes with invoices dating to 2007, plus written history and evaluation by McLaren Special Operations.
While not a true F1 LM, which does away with luxuries like sound insulation and audio system, the F1 LM-Specification offers a similar level of performance as the limited-edition model it closely matches. It certainly is a treat for motoring enthusiasts to see one, and it’s no wonder that collectors are willing to pay an exorbitant amount of money.