If I told you to think of a location where McLaren would establish its first F1 service center in the US, where would come to mind? Los Angeles or Miami? Well, you'd be wrong. The answer is Pennsylvania.
McLaren announced this week that it has opened its North American McLaren F1 Service Center, located at "a remote site" in Pennsylvania. It is only the second authorized F1 service facility outside of the UK, and it's operated by the McLaren Philadelphia dealership.
McLaren never actually imported the F1 to the United States when it was originally on sale, but the company believes there are approximately 20 of McLaren's first road car here in the states (only 106 were produced). Prior to this new service facility, if an owner wanted service done through official channels, the only option was to ship the car to the UK. Now, owners will only have to get their cars to Pennsylvania, which is a bit less expensive.
Not that the McLaren F1 will permit its owners to save money in other ways. The car requires an annual service that includes a full inspection of the suspension, along with your standard fluid and filter swaps. There's also a "shakedown" component that'll have your car blasting down a test track or closed runway in order to ensure the car lives up to its expected performance.
It gets better (or worse, depending on how you see it). Every other annual inspection also requires a full brake service, vehicle alignment, air-conditioning and coolant services, too. Every five years, McLaren will want to replace the fuel tank, which is a laborious task that requires the removal of the entire powertrain.
McLaren didn't mention the cost of these services, but I imagine it falls somewhere between "a lot" and the sound of a briefcase full of money being thrown into a wood chipper. The car's value is somewhere in the seven- to eight-figure range, so it's worth it, I'd venture.
Part of the trickiness involved in servicing the F1 comes down to software. There's an official piece of software McLaren uses to service the F1 that runs in DOS and can only be used on a Compaq LTE 5280, thanks to a specific piece of hardware on that laptop. The company is looking into a solution that relies on newer hardware, since early-1990s laptops aren't the easiest things to come by in 2017.
This won't be the only McLaren F1 service center in the US. McLaren claims a second one, located on the west coast, will come online "in the future."
The McLaren F1 was one of the original supercars. A record-breaker when it hit the scene in the 1990s, the F1 packed a 620-horsepower, 6.1-liter V12. It was the first car with a carbon fiber chassis, and the engine bay was covered in gold foil to deflect heat. Examples nowadays end up fetching millions of dollars at auction, so if you think you have one stocked away in your barn, you might want to go look for it.