When The McLaren F1 Conquered Japan

Now is as good a time as any to remember when the McLaren F1 went to Japan in 1996 and ran the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship. Unsurprisingly, it cleaned up.

Screenshot from BOSSCARS on YouTube

The season went to none other than Ralf Schumacher and Naoki Hattori in their Lark-branded F1, back before it went to its long-tail configuration. McLaren F1 race cars still looked just like McLaren F1 road cars at that point.

Ralf and Naoki made McLaren the first and only non-Japanese manufacturer to win the top GT500 class. That's impressive, sure, but really it's just a pleasure to listen to that naturally-aspirated V12 howl through the gears, blipping on the manual shifts, getting pole at Suzuka.

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