We code named the car the "Supercar", but the world knows it as the "Mclaren F1".
The transaxle was invented by Pat Weismann, and Traction Products, Inc. designed, machined and built the first 6 prototypes. The Supercar is the FASTEST production vehicle ever at 240.14 mph !!
To obtain the wheelbase Gordon wanted, there was no existing transaxles that would work. Peter and Patrick Weismann brain stormed the initial design, with Patrick rising to the challenge and coming up with a clever new idea that made the transaxle over an 1" 1/2 shorter from the back of the engine block to the output center of the axles than what Gordon had asked for!
Simply put, Pat moved the final drive gearset to the side of the clutch, instead of behind it. That brilliant idea was granted a UK patent GB 2 270 661 B and allowed Gordon to realize his dream.
We also came up with a novel clutch throwout mechanism that enabled us to tailor make the clutch pedal feel and actuate the clutch as well within the extremely confined clutch area.
Chris Weismann had the task of engineering the extremely compact 6 speed synchromesh transverse transaxle to handle the awesome power of the BMW V12.
The Supercar transaxle/engine package. Note how extremely compact the entire transaxle is - it barely extends past the brake rotor!
Gordon Murray seated in our rolling dyno, shifting the first prototype transaxle in the back of our shop.
The rear cover could be removed during testing to see the internals in motion.
The Supercar and Rocket outside Gordon's workshop.
Both cars were designed by Gordon Murray using our transaxles.
Gordon told us that one of the XP Supercars that had one of our first six transaxles was (at the last minute) painted black and sliver and stickered with the number 59. Several of the customers with the race versions of the Supercar fitted with our competitor's version of our transaxle were quite upset that an XP Supercar was sold as a racecar. That XP Supercar, after all the testing over the years it went through, won the 1995 24 hours of Le Mans overall in the it's inaugural race!
The customer racecars finished 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th overall. Mario Andretti in a prototype car finished 2nd.
Mc***** states on their own website that the Supercar was never conceived to go that fast - well, we geared it to go 242 mph, so some people involved had some foresight to it's potential!
The Driving Ambition book about the making of the Supercar shows pictures of damaged transaxles. All of those failures were of the transaxles made by our competitors attempts at improving our initial transaxle! We had ZERO failures with our prototype transaxles!
Quoting Gordon, "As far as I'm concerned the XP cars with the prototype gearboxes were great until bits got updated and changed for later spec. The last remaining prototype gearbox still had the best (gear) change of them all, until it too got modified and updated."
And last but not least, on page 194 is pictured a "beautiful original hand drawing" of the GTR gearbox made in 1995. It states "Very few of the original F* programme drawings were computed generated..."
Those few were all of our original Supercar transaxle drawings!
They were mouse and keyboard drawn on computer. The final original printed computer layout drawing of the transaxle is now hanging in the office of Jay Leno, and was drawn in 1992, a full 3 years before the hand drawing was drawn by our competitor's engineer. The drawing even copies the exact layout we made including how we dimensioned it!