Do you like McLaren F1s? Do you like Le Mans-winning race cars? Do you enjoy nice days out in the grounds of significant historical buildings? If the answer to any of those is yes, then you'll likely want to make a beeline for the 2020 Hampton Court Concours, scheduled for the weekend of September 4-6th.
That's because organisers of the event have today announced that the four McLaren F1 GTRs which finished 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th at the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours will be reunited at this year's gathering. They'll form a centrepiece amongst the plethora of other incredible machines set to be displayed in the grounds of Henry VIII's former home, a display which will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their historic achievement.
We all know the story of the F1's Le Mans triumph by now, but it's worth touching on briefly nonetheless. Never designed to go racing, the road-only supercar was finally modified to GTR-spec after multiple requests by customers. Despite testing only beginning in January, just five months before the race, the F1 went on to not only take the top four spots in its GT1 class, but four of the top five overall places as well, including the overall victory.
That was sealed by a stunning night time stint by Finnish driver JJ Lehto, who set a frankly unbelievable pace in wet conditions. Only a second place finish for the Courage C34 Le Mans Prototype of Mario Andretti, Bob Wollek and Eric Helary prevented the dominant McLaren from a clean sweep, with other top-tier competitors forced into lowly sixth and seventh place finishes.
The famous Ueno Clinic-liveried, Kokusai Kaihatsu Racing car driven to victory by Lehto, Yannick Dalmas and Masanori Sekiya will be flanked on the lawn by the third-place Harrods-liveried car of Andy Wallace, Derek Bell and Justin Bell, Mark Blundell's fourth-place Gulf Racing F1 GTR and the Giroix Racing Team F1 GTR that finished fifth.
Andrew Evans, Concours of Elegance Director, said: "The Concours of Elegance is all about shining a light on the most astonishing stories and creations in the motoring world, and bringing them to one of the world's most beautiful palaces for our visitors to enjoy. Arguably there's no more emotive story than that of the F1 GTR; a car that no one expected anything of which then went on to one of the most convincing victories ever seen at the world's hardest motor race. We're excited to bring these amazing vehicles together in 2020, but it really is just one small part of a very carefully curated selection of special features and world-class automobiles set for our event."
A small part, perhaps, but one which we're massively excited about. And if you fancy spending your Friday lunchtime learning exactly why, then you could certainly do worse than the 40-minute video embedded below. See you in September!
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