A special dedication to the McLaren MP4/4


The latest update in Gran Turismo 7 leads to an increasing number of new cars, including the legendary McLaren MP4/4. You can read about this update in our previous article.

As the true racing and F1 fans, we just need to give a special dedication to the McLaren MP4/4 and write a few more words about that car. Although this is not an article about sim racing, we hope you will enjoy it.


The McLaren MP4/4 was voted the greatest Formula One car of all time by a panel of Formula One engineers and designers.

The McLaren MP4/4 was also voted greatest race car of the 20th century by Autosport readers.

Steve Nichols has said that he was honoured to lead the McLaren design team including Matthew Jeffreys, Dave North, Bob Bell, Hugh Moran, Dave Neilson, Tim Wright, Colin Smith, Mike Lock, and Paul Merrit. He thought that the MP4/4 was the culmination of all the experience and effort of all the McLaren people who worked so hard to design, produce and race this car and that it was the perfect validation of the concept of teamwork.

In our opinion, the McLaren MP4/4 is the greatest F1 car ever built. 


The McLaren MP4/4 was powered by Honda’s RA168E 1.5-litre V6-turbo engine which produced 685 bhp. This has been the best engine in Formula 1 since 1985, but there were concerns before the season start. 

1988 was a transition year prior to a naturally aspirated-only formula in 1989 and the regulations were framed to reward those teams that had already made the switch. The car had the luxury of being able to modulate boost, but with a fuel tank allowance of only 150 litres (naturally aspirated cars were unlimited) it meant that the team would have to go into extreme fuel conservation to get to the end of a race. 

However, Honda did an astonishing work on the fuel consumption. The McLaren MP4/4 suffered only one engine failure throughout the whole 1988′ season. 


Team Performance

Where do we start? Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost won 15 of the 16 races  in 1988 driving the McLaren MP4/4. That is still the highest percentage (93,75%) of wins in one season by a constructor. Gerhard Berger in Ferrari ruined their perfect run wining in Monza where both Senna and Prost retired. Ferrari with 15 wins of the 17 races (88,24%) in 2002 and Mercedes with 19 wins of the 21 races (90,48%) in 2016 came close, but couldn’t beat the McLaren MP4/4 record.

In those 15 victories, they had ten 1-2 finishes, while Prost finished 1st or 2nd in the 14 races he finished. The McLaren MP4/4 also sat on pole position in 15 of the 16 races, locked out the front row in 12 races. Senna sat on pole position in 13 of those races. Again, only Gerhard Berger’s pole position at Silverstone prevented a perfect pole record for McLaren.

At San Marino Gran Prix Senna and Prost left the rest of the grid for more than three seconds in qualifying. In the race they were even more dominant, they had lapped the entire field by lap 55 of the 60 lap race. Both Prost and Senna lapped faster in the race than 3rd placed Nelson Piquet had qualified. 

The constructors and drivers' titles

At the end of the season, McLaren-Honda had taken both the Constructors and Drivers’ titles. The team finished the season a massive 134 points in front of 2nd placed Ferrari.

What is interesting, only the best 11 results counted toward the championship. Even though Prost scored 105 points during the year, only 87 points were counted toward the championship. Senna scored 94 points, with 90 points counted toward the championship by virtue of winning more races. Thus, Senna became the World Champion, although he did not score the most points over the course of the year. 

The 1988 title was the first of three Senna’ Formula One titles. 



The MP4/4 was succeeded by the Honda V10 powered McLaren MP4/5 in 1989. In that year other constructors such as Ferrari, Williams and Benetton improved so McLaren wasn’t that successful as in 1988.

However, McLaren won again the Constructor Championship, with Prost and Senna finishing 1-2 in the Drivers’ Championship. This time, Alain Prost won the Drivers’ Championship and Ayrton Senna finished second.  

Which is the greatest car ever built in your opinion? Let us know in a comment!