Watch the McLaren F1 Longtail Dance Around Spa

The iconic supercar of the 1990s takes to one of the world's greatest tracks.

Marchettino / YouTube

Few cars from the 1990s are as coveted as the McLaren F1. It was put on the same poster-car level as the Lamborghini Countach, and in spite of its record-setting top speed, it managed to double as an ultimate grand tourer. The relentless requests of enthusiasts persuaded Rod Dennis to develop a racing version of the car, an effort which resulted in the car you see here: the McLaren F1 Longtail.

Despite the McLaren's fabled top-speed and supercar capabilities, it wasn't designed for motorsport. In fact, the automaker said so itself. A quote from the brand's website says:

...although McLaren’s most enthusiastic customers convinced Ron Dennis that a track version was required, the F1 GTR race cars that lined up on the grid at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995 were essentially still no more than converted road cars.  

That race ended up giving McLaren a record that still stands 22 years later: It is the first and only manufacturer to enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans and win on its first try. The fleet of F1 GTR ended up finishing 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th, rounding out the leaderboard with a host of newcomers. 

This eventually led to the evolution of the F1 Longtail. It shared the most important bits with the GTR racer, including the 6.1-liter V-12, but it also amplified the rest of its motorsport prowess. Aerodynamics were greatly improved upon from the previous iteration—a feature that's made most obvious by its rear deck, which had been lengthened by 25 inches over standard. That gave the car its name—and the rest was, as they say, history.

Listen to the radical Brit sprint around Spa-Francorchamps, and relish what may be one of the most significant racecars of the 20th century.