The world’s fastest car almost didn’t have an engine
Murray’s Plan A was for the F1 to have a Honda engine. It was entirely logical: McLaren F1 cars raced with Honda engines, and discussions got quite advanced, with Murray travelling twice to Japan. The plans were for either a 4.5-litre V10 or V12, but then all that changed. ‘Suddenly someone in Honda marketing decided that with the next crop of Hondas coming out – I think a 3.0-litre V6 was going to be their biggest engine –this was going to be a step too far from a marketing point of view,’ says Murray. It got to the stage where the F1 was designed with a space for the engine, no-one knowing quite what would fill it. Then, in 1990, Murray walked past the BMW garage after the Hockenheim Formula 1 race, where he spotted engine genius Paul Rosche having an after-hours beer. ‘He was a mate from my days at Brabham,’ remembers Murray. ‘He said “I’ll do you an engine”!’ Less than two years later, the McLaren F1 had a bespoke BMW V12.