Watch as the double Formula 1 champion throws the Le Mans 24 Hours F1 around Laguna Seca during the Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Awesome!
Mika Häkkinen celebrated 25 years of the Le-Mans winning McLaren F1 GTR by driving one of the supercars around Laguna Seca at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion historic race meeting.
It is the latest of a series of historic event appearances by the twice Formula 1 world champion in the year that marks the 20th anniversary of his first F1 title. Earlier this year he demonstrated a 1970 McLaren M14 at the Monaco Grand Prix Historique and he also appeared at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.
You can watch onboard footage of Häkkinen taking the McLaren F1 around the Californian circuit below, and you’ll see that he does not hold back!
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A race homologated version of the McLaren F1, then fastest car in the world, had success in the BPR Global GT Series against the likes of the Ferrari F40 and Porsche 911 Turbo and then took overall victory at Le Mans in 1995.
The McLaren F1, of which only 28 were built, was not intended to be a racer. McLaren’s star designer Gordon Murray broke from F1 to build the ultimate road car and he had to be convinced to let it compete on track.
At Le Mans it was essentially a road car competing against purpose-built prototypes, and expected to compete only for GT class honours. Yet its bulletproof reliability meant it finished in four of the first five places overall, and McLaren became the first manufacturer to win Le Mans in its first attempt.
Its BMW-supplied, naturally aspirated 600bhp V12 produced less power than its roadcar equivalent owing to regulations that enforced air restrictors. This combined with a revised aero package to increase downforce meant the GTR was recorded at 175mph on the Mulsanne Straight. For 1997 the revised 'long tail' F1 was capable of 197mph. It took second place overall as well as a class win in that year's Le Mans.
It also is the second year in a row that Häkkinen has driven at the Reunion event. Last year he appeared in Emerson Fittipaldi’s 1974 F1 title-winning McLaren M23.
Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.