Autocar Awards 2020: McLaren F1 named Readers’ Champion

For this award, we asked you which car you’d most like to drive before you die. You looked at the 50 cars we’d put on a shortlist, carefully considered their respective engineering merits and their influence over the wider car industry.

You mused on design, technology, significance. And then you picked the one with the 6.1-litre naturally aspirated V12 in its middle. Fair play. Same here.

Driving a McLaren F1 properly was on my wish list, too. Then, last year, came the 25th anniversary of the F1’s Autocar road test. McLaren graciously said it would again oblige Autocar with access to an F1 for a day, by the end of which we’d been allowed to drive it so hard and for so long, its rear numberplate melted.

Given the F1 still feels so impossibly special, so rigid, and with such huge engineering integrity and performance, I can barely comprehend how it must have felt more than a quarter of a century ago. The experience is dominated by that engine – as smooth as chocolate at idle but with breathtaking noise and response when you ask anything from it. And its chassis still feels so tough and pure, light but safe, involving but predictable.

Driving an F1 is unquestionably one of the most intoxicating, rewarding and informative experiences in motoring. You made the right choice.