McLaren reveals pristine ‘25R’ F1 GTR

Published: 10 September 2018

► Restoration took 18 months
► Uses pre June-1997 parts
► First car to receive MSO certificate 

A week or so ago, McLaren Special Operations ‘MSO’ revealed a new service designed to authenticate examples of its F1 supercar – but at the same time it also revealed a pristine example of its renowned 1997 F1 supercar. Although 21 years old, this F1 GTR Longtail designated ‘25R’ looks pristine in its Gulf-Davidoff livery, and alongside the CLK-GTR, has to go down as one of the best looking racecars of all time. Check out the gallery above for more pics. 

'Even among F1 GTRs, this car, designated ‘25R’, is unique – and now it is as near to being new as we can make it,' commented Ansar Ali, managing director of McLaren Special Operations (MSO). 'The car is the exemplar of everything that the new certification programme stands for and we are proud to have "25R" as the very first McLaren F1 Certified car.'

McLaren says the 25R took 18 months to restore to ‘as new’ condition, and the build used pre-June 1997 F1 GTR parts for extra authenticity. The car features tall gear ratios designed for Le Mans, new body parts – and also features a blue roof identification light. Interestingly, that light is the only non-McLaren part of the build; it’s actually from an aircraft’s wing. We don’t know if the plane was pre-1997, though.


25R has a long, eight-year history of motor racing. Although it didn’t complete the 1997 Le Mans 24h – retiring two hours from the end – it was later sold to a Japanese team and raced until 2005.

Is there a certificate? 

Yes, there is. McLaren says the authenticity program will run for both track and race versions of the F1, and will include everything from race/road history to provenance, originality and general condition. Those who use the service will also receive a book outlining the history of their car. With 106 McLaren F1s made (including 64 road cars and 28 race cars), it’ll be interesting to see how many end up with an MSO certificate.


‘McLaren cherishes its rich heritage of iconic and world-beating cars such as the F1,’ said McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt. ‘“25R” presented us with a unique opportunity to demonstrate this by restoring it to precisely how it was when it raced at Le Mans in 1997, thus ensuring its future.

‘Maintaining the integrity of these historically significant cars is paramount and F1 Certified will play a big role in allowing us to do that for the peace of mind of owners today as well as preserving a wonderful heritage for future generations of car lovers.’

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

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