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For fans of the McLaren F1

1 March 2005
San Diego, CA
Hey guys,

I noticed that someone posted the review of the McLaren F1 by Best Motoring.


I decided it was a shame that most people won't be able to understand the discussion within, so made an attempt to translate it. Watch the video and take a read:


Best Motoring Review of McLaren F1

[The older gentleman is Takuya Yura--I am guessing at the name reading, as my Japanese is limited. He is a race car designer for Mooncraft. He is accompanied by Naoki Hattori.]

Yura: So this is the McLaren F1.

Yura: When you look at it, it's so compact. I had been expecting something larger, but it's quite small.

Hat: Yes. I was amazed they were able to fit three people inside.

Yura: That's right. This is called a McLaren, but the car is packed with the personality of the designer Gordon Murray. Rather than it being a "McLaren," you can tell he took all the knowledge and experience he gained back at Brabham and put it all in this car. It's also the technology about how compactly you can package the best possible stuff. In particular, there is nothing scattered around the car--everything heavy is concentrated in the center. For example, the rear overhang is extremely short. The front radiators are split in two. It's as if he were back at Brabham, laying out radiators again. This car, if you didn't know who made it and if you were knowledgeable in F1, you would suspect that the designer was Gordon Murray. The car has that much of his personality.

Hat: Like it's what's inside the counts, not what's outside.

Yura: Similar to what he did in F1, he used a suction fan to suck the car to the ground. Looking at it, I wonder if it really works, but he takes cooling air from underneath and exhausts it out the rear. And then these large air exits on the sides, the air that is expelled from the radiator, enters the wheel well, and is exhausted from here. At first, I was wondering what it was for, but it's clear there's been a lot of attention paid to the details of the airflow. There's also no ABS, traction control, or any power assist anywhere.

Hat: I'd want the power steering, but for the braking, I'd prefer to have the control.

Yura: But during the 0-400 run, it was about 11.1, right?

Hat: You wouldn't think it's 2WD.

Yura: Yes, without traction control, 11.1 is really amazing.

Hat: On the launch, there's some wheelspin, but the engine is NA and extremely easy to control.

Yura: In the engine bay, it's pretty amazing how they packed a 12 cylinder engine into this space.

Hat: That includes the transmission as well.

Yura: It's incredible. And BMW did a great job developing this engine. It wasn't some off the shelf engine--they developed it especially for this car. The way the induction pods come down is just like a race car. The intake runners are also very short. Most recent cars have twisting and turning long runners but they used very short ones in this layout. Then there is the engine mounting. The mount is a part of the engine itself, and then connects to the chassis, and creates a very strong structure. The layout of the exhaust is beautiful. The gold is very amazing, isn't it? It's the first time I'd heard it, but it has extremely good heat reflecting properties, and so they used about 350,000 yen's worth in this car. You could buy a cheap car with that! The catch can is something you've probably seen in an F3000 car. The hoses are silicone to resist the heat. The wiring harness is is just like an aircraft, typical of formula cars. Then there are these machined parts that you don't normally see in a car. The welding is also very manual--no automated welding at all here. What's amazing is that no matter where you look, there is nothing that looks like it could have been mass produced.

Yura: This cooling system--brake cooling system, can you turn on the power, please? This is electrically actuated via the brakes. When you apply them, the spoiler rises like this. This causes high pressure to build up here, and that causes the air to enter these holes. This cools the rear brakes. The front brakes also have doors that open and shut.

Yura: With this monocoque, since it's all carbon composite, they were able to cut into the body for the door opening. Normally with a twin tube structure, you get a big hump right here, so entry and egress become difficult. So there are two big tubes right here (around the center seat), and with the cutout like this, it's easy to get in and out.

Hat: It seems like that would reduce the rigidity.

Yura: Well, since everything is unified and made of carbon, it's very strong. But when I'm sitting here like this, I can't reach the door to close it! I wonder what I'm supposed to do.

Hat: Then they should look at the pedals.

Yura: It's like a pure race car. The control details and switches, it's as if the staff were relishing the design work and made everything exactly the way they wanted it. They were having fun making it. How's the driving position?

Hat: Well, I'm laying back more than a normal car. It's similar to a Group C car.

Yura: If this were your car, the pedal position, angle of the seat, the steering wheel would all be adjusted to suit you.

Hat: Ah, I see.

Yura: They were also meticulous with the shift knob.

Hat: When I was doing the 0-400 run, the shift gates were so precise, maybe too precise, I had to deliberately move the lever back to the center to upshift into third.

Yura: With a car like this, an H pattern might be getting outdated.

Hat: With the starter, normally, you twist the key, then twist further to start. But it's like a missile, you lift this cap and the red button is underneath.

Yura: The brakes are a monobloc design, with one piece Brembo calipers machined out of a solid piece of aluminum. That's pretty amazing. The entire path, starting from the brake pedal, every detail has been carefully considered. With the instrument panel, the impression I get is "analog-style digital".

Hat: Yeah, nowadays race cars use the Pi system or something similar.

Yura: And the speedometer reads to 400km/h, and the lettering is so small it's hard to read at a glance. It could be that a digital instrument panel might end up being easier to read.

Yura: The two rear view mirrors are pretty unique. The induction pod is big and right in the middle, so it's one on each side. I wonder how the field of view is. Well, please enjoy it on the track.

(0-1000m & Max Speed test)

[Hattori describes how the car is scary on the banking, as the tires don't have the grip to keep up with the speed the car can attain. The car is very stable on the straights. He reached an indicated 330km/h. He notes how strongly the car accelerates in 6th gear.]
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You did a great job translating! I never seen this documentary from Best Motoring before, and this one was interesting. I have a painting of the McLaren F1 hanging in my room, and I'll never take it off. The driver (Hattori) did a great job using its potential on the Tsukuba track course. I hope that the next-gen NSX will perform something as close to the performance of the Mclaren. Other than that, thanks for sharing.:smile:
thanks very much for the review. we have a mclaren a few minutes from our house and, i've gotta admit, i'm enamored of it... it's nice to learn more about it.

thx again.
queenlives said:
thanks very much for the review. we have a mclaren a few minutes from our house and, i've gotta admit, i'm enamored of it... it's nice to learn more about it.

thx again.
Why don't you 'borrow' it or get some help from unnamed friends :biggrin:
slownsxt said:
Why don't you 'borrow' it or get some help from unnamed friends :biggrin:
the caretaker has offered to take me out for a ride in it several times... perhaps sometime in the near future.
White98LS said:
And you haven't taken him up on that offer?!?!?!:eek:
<hanging head> errr, no... i've had other things to take care of.

the mclaren shares the garage with many - MANY - f,l,p cars... it's very cool and very, very laid back.