It’s been 25 years since JJ Lehto, Yannick Dalmas and Masanori Sekiya defied the odds to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright in the Ueno Clinic-sponsored McLaren F1 GTR. It was the first and only time a manufacturer has won the French endurance thriller on its maiden outing – that it was able to do so with a road-born GT car and not a purpose-built prototype made the feat even sweeter.
Unfortunately, McLaren F1s have skyrocketed in value since then, the most recent publicly offered example having sold for a princely 19.8m dollars. And we’re told by people in the know that a racing GTR with good Le Mans provenance is worth even more. For a much more modest 300,000 euros, however, McLaren will sell you a special edition 720S built in tribute to the Le Mans-winning GTR, chassis #01R.
Available in McLaren Orange or Sarthe Grey, the 720S Le Mans features lightweight five-spoke wheels, lift-reducing louvred front wings and a functioning roof-mounted air intake, all features directly inspired by the F1 GTR. Special 25th anniversary logos feature on the bodywork and are embroidered into the headrests of the carbon-fibre bucket seats, while there’s also a steering wheel marker at 12 o’clock and an interior plaque referencing the momentous victory at La Sarthe. Of course, the brain-melting performance and extraordinary real-world usability of the 720S are retained.
Just 50 McLaren 720S Le Mans special editions will be built, of which 16 will be allocated to customers in Europe. Each of the car’s chassis numbers will begin with the number 298, referencing the number of laps completed by the Le Mans-winning F1 GTR back in 1995.
Photos: McLaren Automotive