The eighties would mark the frenzied return of the race for power and performance in automobile production, with, by the beginning of the nineties several short production run models capable of reproducing the performances of their track versions appearing on the market. Eager to capitalize on this trend, McLaren set out to out-do rival constructors with its own, record-breaking road model.
With victory in the Formula 1 world constructors championship 1988 would be the pinnacle in the collaboration between McLaren and Honda. That year, the team would win every single Grand Prix meeting except for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, with the rivalry between the team's two drivers Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna dominating the narrative of the season.
The following few years would confirm the domination of the team, who would go on to win the world title in 1989, 1990 and 1991. At this point, McLaren's ambition spilled-over onto the road as the all-conquering racing team decided to develop a road worthy automobile that was capable of reaching extreme speeds, in the mould of the incredible XJ 220, which in 1991 became the fastest GT in the world with a top speed of over 211 mph.
The project was born from a chance discussion during a meeting in Milan between Mansour Ojjeh and Ron Dennis, the company's two principal share-holders and Gordon Murray, the firm's technical director. It is also this meeting that saw the birth of the McLaren Cars Ltd subsidiary, later to be renamed as McLaren Automotive. The newly founded firm would be based at a Woking factory, purpose-built for the development and production of GT automobiles.
To be continued...