Following a worldwide public vote the Greatest Supercar Ever was revealed at The Classic & Sports Car Show.
The 6.1-litre V12-engined F1 beat icons from Ferrari, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Mercedes, Jaguar and a host of other famous names to the title. Unveiled as the winner by former British F1 driver John Surtees CBE, the F1 formed part of a £40m supercar centrepiece at the Classic & Sports Car Show in London’s Alexandra Palace.
Earlier in the year Classic & Sports Car’s experts drew up a supercar ‘long list’. Three cars from each decade of the past 100 years were chosen – then the roll call was thrown open to the public. At the end of September the list of 33 was whittled down to 11 as the most popular from each decade was selected as a finalist: Up to 1914 - Mercedes 1908 GP, 1914-1929 - Bentley 41/2-litre Blower, 1930s - Alfa Romeo 8C, 1940s - Jaguar XK120, 1950s - Mercedes 300SL ‘Gullwing’, 1960s - Lamborghini Miura, 1970s - Lamborghini Countach, 1980s - Ferrari F40, 1990s - McLaren F1, 2000s - Bugatti Veyron, 2010s - McLaren P1.
After more than 17,000 votes were cast, the McLaren F1 was the overwhelming winner, taking over 30 percent of the overall vote. With gold leaf as an engine heat shield, a three-seater layout and the ability to do 0-200mph in 28 secs, the McLaren F1 has always been regarded as one of the most incredible supercars.
The brainchild of engineer Gordon Murray, it was officially debuted in 1992 and shocked the world right from the start, being staggeringly light at 1138kg – thanks in no small part to its Peter Stevens-penned carbonfibre body – and hugely powerful with a bespoke BMW-designed 627bhp 6.1-litre V12.
Performance is still incredible in 2016, but in the 1990s it was way beyond other period supercars. With no driver aids at all, not even an airbag or ABS brakes, it was about as pure as it was possible to be too.
James Elliott, Classic & Sports Car magazine group editor, said: ‘The F1’s top speed ‘record’ of 243mph – with the rev limiter removed – grabbed headlines at the time but it’s the single-mindedness of the whole design that’s still the most remarkable thing about this all-time great. There is no supercar before it – or since – that has such purity of purpose. The F1 has it all: it’s the most uncompromising car ever made, and a fitting winner of the public vote. I hope visitors to Alexandra Palace enjoy our ‘A Century of Supercars’ display as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together.”