THROWBACK THURSDAY. On-board race action at the 1996 BPR Global GT Series round at the Nürburgring with Peter Kox and erstwhile championship winning McLaren F1 GTR.
Since making its competitive debut at the 2015 Gulf 12 Hours at Yas Marina, the McLaren 650S GT3 has been on a bit of a roll in the Blancpain GT Series. After taking race victories at both Silverstone and Nürburgring in its debut season, the 650S GT3 now heads the series standings, courtesy of three wins under its belt already under the ‘Garage 53’ banner.
Naturally the prospect of a possible world sports car title has got McLaren reminiscing about ‘the good old days’, and specifically the last time that Woking last claimed sports car championship glory. In 1995, the McLaren F1 GTR had dominated proceedings, taking 24 Hours of Le Mans victory on its debut and thereafter securing that year’s BPR Global GT Series – formerly the World Sportscar Championship – with seven wins from 11 starts. By April the following year, the F1 GTR’s title defence was looking pretty positive too, with five wins from five starts already under its belt. Including Silverstone, on-board footage of which you can see HERE.
And this on-board footage from the Nürburgring should demonstrate why. As well as phenomenal straight-line grunt from its 6.1-litre BMW V12 and a belting soundtrack, the F1 GTR was also deliciously nimble through the corners, as Peter Kox ably demonstrates on-board the #1 West Competition entry, chasing down Andy Wallace in the Harrod’s liveried #3 as he does so. You can see some cheeky heel-and-toe action from the footwell-mounted camera at the 52s mark, and breathe in as things get a little too close for comfort in the traffic at 30s onwards.
Though the #3 would retire shortly after the first hour, Kox and teammate Thomas Bscher would go onto the lead a McLaren F1 GTR podium lock-out, their nearest rivals – the Ennea Ingol Ferrari F40 GTE – three laps further back in fourth.
The F1 championship may have slipped through its fingers, but 1996 was nevertheless a banner year for McLaren: following its dominant performance at the Nürburgring, the F1 GTR would be beaten only three more times in 1996, regulation changes and a new series name for 1997 unfortunately ensuring the legend would never again hit such heady heights.