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 time since Ferrari in 1949 that a manufacturer had won the great 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. Remarkably, F1s finished first, third, fourth, fifth and 13th.
Amalgam, the British purveyor of the most spectacular hand-crafted scale models in the world, is celebrating McLaren’s anniversary with a run of just five ‘race-weathered’ 1:8-scale replicas of chassis 01R, the Kokusai Kaihatsu Racing-entered F1 GTR. Every detail has been meticulously replicated, from the road grime (which was especially prominent in 1995 due to the dismal weather throughout the race) and stone chips to the scruffy torn sun blocker running across the top of the windscreen. Amalgam actually digitally scanned the real-life car at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking to ensure absolute accuracy.
It’s a shame that McLaren cleaned the real Le Mans winner – there’s nothing more beguiling than a racing car that wears its battle scars with pride. Fortunately, Amalgam has frozen that moment from 18 June 1995 in time for five lucky enthusiasts to enjoy to their heart’s content. The price, we hear you cry? As the old adage goes, if you have to ask!
Photos/Video: Amalgam Collection