Gordon Murray never meant his F1 to race, but when pressure was applied by two eager racing customers, he had a perfect basis. From the fabulous three-seater F1, his team produced a racing version that first dominated the BPR series and then brought victory at Le Mans first time out.
Author Mark Cole watched their progress as commentator and reporter on endurance racing for many years, attending most of the races described here, and explains the mods needed to make the car run at race speeds first for four hours, then 24 – endless mods, minor or major, which left it looking like its road car basis but substantially quicker and tougher. Frustrated at having to reduce the V12’s power and remove his active fan-assisted aero system for racing, Murray says, “It’s ironic that we had to chuck away all the interesting stuff!” He adds that the ’95 car was 70% road, 30% race; by 1996 those ratios were reversed.
After a biography of Bruce McLaren, Cole describes the revival of GT racing which gave the car a yard to play in, the development of the road car and then the changes that created the GTR. Yet surprisingly all that is over by p41; the rest of volume one consists of complete reports for every single race the cars did up to the 2005 Japanese GT series. And that’s another 300 pages. It’s not bedtime reading. However, there is more to settle down with in volume two where the 28 chassis histories mix with team and driver memories, owner reflections and a fun chapter on driving to Le Mans by road in Ray Bellm’s car that a year before had finished ninth in the race.