McLaren MP4/4 At Motegi

Formula 1 geeks like myself have spent countless hours on YouTube reliving the glory days of the sport. I’m of the opinion that the 80’s were Formula 1’s greatest decade. They saw a massive shift in the sport as more sponsors became involved and it entered the World stage. The 80’s produced a dizzying array of talent with drivers becoming international celebrities. Despite all of this, Formula 1 was great in the 80’s for one important reason; it was the peak of the turbo era.

The turbo era produced many astonishing machines but none quite like the McLaren MP4/4. In my mind it’s the greatest Formula 1 car of all time. Its Honda RA168-E V6 was capable of over 1000 HP and in the hands of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, won 15 races in 1988.


Despite its legendary history, the MP4/4 remains a recluse these days.


It’s a rarity to see the MP4/4 stretching its legs on the track. I was encouraged to see Lewis Hamilton take Senna’s old car for a spin on Top Gear a few years ago. The chance to see one of the sport’s current World Champions take the reigns of such a fantastic machine was an exciting prospect. However, disappointment set in when the segment’s soundtrack overpowered the car’s bellowing V6 twin-turbo. I often find that the biggest complaint from YouTube viewers is that the engine sound isn’t a high enough priority in car videos.


I was encouraged to come across this video of the MP4/4 at Motegi last July.

With HD footage and good sound quality, it’s not to be missed. The first few minutes get off to a slow start but once the car is warmed up, it’s pure engine pornography. Turn your speakers up to 11.

This MP4/4 was probably running a more conservative tune compared to it’s days at Monaco. Regardless, the video gives us a taste of what the car would’ve sounded like at WOT. I think it’s automotive bliss.

As a new season of Formula 1 gets underway in a couple weeks, it marks the final appearance of V8s in the sport. The new technical regulations of 2014 will see Formula 1 enter its second turbo era. While the new cars will hardly capture the ferocity of their ancestors, it’ll be nice to see Formula 1 using turbos again. I don’t think I’m alone in saying how eager I am to hear to 2014 cars. Internal wastegates will keep the noise levels down significantly, but the rumor is that they will sound great. I suppose we’ll have our answer a year from now. In the meantime, the MP4/4’s legacy lives on.

Video courtesy of Deckay.


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