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by Adam Lynton
Dressed in legendary livery, the ultra-modern competition coupe is one of the greatest sports cars ever built.
One of the genuine icons of the modern-era sports car racing is heading to Bonhams Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia auction this August. The ex-GTC Gulf Team Davidoff 1997 McLaren F1 GTR 'Longtail' FIA GT Endurance Racing Coupe - to give it its full and proper name - is dressed in Gulf Oil's pale-blue and orange team livery, colors worn by other legendary victors such as the Ford GT40 and Porsche 917K.
Heralded as one of the greatest sports cars ever made, this particular example, chassis '028R,' was the 28th and final McLaren F1 GTR built by the British McLaren Cars factory, and the last of only ten highly developed 'Longtail' cars. These ultra-modern competition coupes represented the pinnacle of McLaren's Le Mans-winning F1 GTR family, identifiable by their stunning Gordon Murray design, unique centerline driving position and sophisticated all-composite structure. The Longtails also featured longer noses and tails to reduce drag and achieve the maximum possible aerodynamic downforce.
In 1997 '028R' raced at the Nurburgring, Spa-Francorchamps, Austria's A1-Ring, Donington Park, Mugello, Sebring and Laguna. The car was driven by Andrew Gilbert-Scott, Geoff Lees, Anders Olofsson and John Neilsen. "We are delighted to have been appointed by an international collector to represent this breathtaking piece of competition machinery," says Mark Osborne, Head of Motoring at Bonhams. "Racing legends like the McLaren F1 GTR rarely if ever appear at auction." This is an epic car dressed in a legendary livery, which is why a year ago the same car was being offered for €3m.
So when this particular Gulf McLaren F1 GTR Longtail crosses the auction block don't be surprised if bids surpass $4m. The 2012 Bonhams Auction of Exceptional Motorcars will take place Thursday & Friday, August 16 & 17 at Quail Lodge in Carmel, California.