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5 actual road cars that were inspired by Formula One

To celebrate the return of F1 we check out some roadgoing motors inspired by the track.

Image: Newspress

LAST WEEKEND SAW the long-awaited return of Formula One. The revamped season is already throwing up lots of nice surprises like Vettel taking victory for Scuderia Ferrari at Albert Park.

While many do dream of owning or even just getting behind the wheel of an F1 car, the reality is a little different – a secondhand one will set you back somewhere between €115,000 and €1.75million.

But don’t despair. There are actually some pretty cool road-going cars that have been inspired by Formula One racers.

Here are five cars that have taken inspiration from Formula One:

Honda NSX

Source: Honda Media

The NSX was both inspired by Formula One, and itself inspired an F1 legend. The original NSX was developed during the late 1980s, while Honda was supplying engines to the McLaren F1 team. This gave McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray a chance to see early versions of the NSX.

Murray said that when he drove the NSX it became the benchmark for the Formula One car he was building. In the end he copied the drive-by-wire throttle as well as many other aspects of the NSX.

But how was the car inspired by F1? Well, the original NSX was tested and tuned by F1 racing legend Ayrton Senna. His recommendations had been implemented in the production process, most notably the stiffening of the aluminium monocoque – a production car first. Japanese racer Satoru Nakajima was also involved in testing and development of the NSX.

One of Senna’s NSX cars went up for auction with a price tag of €115,250. You can sometimes pick one up in the UK from upwards of around £35,000 (€40,000).

McLaren P1

Source: Patrick Gosling

Only 375 of these cars were very made and they were inspired by the McLaren F1 car, which in turn was inspired by the Honda NSX.

The P1 is race-car quick and its 903hp is generated by a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine coupled to an electric motor. And it can go from 0-60mph in a blistering 2.9 seconds.

The P1 also features an F1-derived RaceActive Chassis Control system that adapts damping and roll stiffness. Stick the P1 into Race Mode and the springs stiffen by 300 per cent, enabling it to corner at more than two G.

Another F1-derived feature is the Instant Power Assist System (IPAS), which traps kinetic energy produced when braking and converts it into electrical energy to give an instant boost – providing 177hp on demand and eliminating any turbo lag.

When it was first released in 2013 the P1 cost GB£866,000 (€1,030,000). Nowadays you are gonna need closer to €1.3 million to buy one. And at least half again for VRT.

Mercedes-AMG A45 Champions Edition

Source: Daimler Media

In 2015 Mercedes-AMG celebrated its Formula 1 World Championship title with a special edition of the Mercedes-AMG A45 4MATIC.

This was the year that Mercedes AMG Petronas was victorious in the constructors’ world championship as well as the drivers’ championship and held runner-up titles clocked up by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Mercedes-AMG called the car a ‘Silver Arrow for everyday’.

The exterior of the car featured the hallmark foiling with petrol green and black highlights in the design of the winning F1 W06 HYBRID super model. It rolls on 19-inch cross-spoke wheels painted in titanium grey and accentuated with a petrol green rim flange. Oh, and it can do the 100km/h dash from a standstill in 4.2 seconds.

The car was on sale for a limited time of six months in 2016 and was priced at €65,402 in Germany – against the €51,051 base price of the regular A45.

MINI John Cooper Works World Championship 50

Source: an.niedermeyer

In 1959 Alec Issigonis showcased his small concept car with its transverse-mounted front four-cylinder engine and space for four occupants plus luggage. Also that year, car constructor John Cooper won his first Formula One World Championship title with Jack Brabham at the wheel. 50 years later to celebrate both of these anniversaries MINI released the limited edition John Cooper Works World Championship 50 car. Only 250 units were produced and they feature many exterior and interior details reflecting the brand’s racing pedigree.

The car is painted in Connaught Green, the famous colour of British race cars of the 1950s and 60s. The roof and bonnet stripes are in Pepper White and the green with the white bonnet stripes mirror the colour concept of the Cooper F1 cars. This MINI special edition was inspired by John Cooper’s son, Mike. His signature appears on the fascia and on one of the bonnet stripes.

When they first went on sale these cars cost £33,000 (€38,000). Yes, that’s a lot for a MINI… but you can pick them up now for about £14,000 or €16,000 plus VRT.

Renault Clio Williams

Source: Newspress

The Renault Clio Williams went on sale in 1993. It was supposed to be a limited edition model, but the demand was so great that Renault just kept on building them and even produced a Series 2 and 3.

Named after the then Renault-powered Williams Formula One team, the car is considered by many to be one of the best hot hatches ever made. It has a really great power-to-weight ratio of 148.5bhp per metric ton (124.7 lb-ft of torque per ton) and goes from 0 to 100km/h (0-62 mph) in 8.0 seconds.

When it was released it cost £13,275 (€15,324) but you can pick one up today in good condition for around £3,200 (€3,693).

READ: Dear Driver: Which SUV has three ISOFIX points? >

READ: Thinking of snapping up a car bargain in the UK? Here’s what you need to know >

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About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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