Many racing team - manufacturer combinations have resulted in some really cool road cars in the past decades. Here's one that could have been totally awesome/weird.

When a car manufacturer decides to promote its brand in motor racing, it usually goes to a racing team, throws a lot of cash at it, puts its name on the car, and gradually it gets more involved in the whole R&D process, supplying know-how, people and hardware as they gain more knowledge out of their mule car circling around.

Advertisement

There are levels of contribution on behalf of a manufacturer. Some companies only go as far to sponsor a team by giving some bucks and the name in exchange, while others just go and build the whole car themselves.

Ferrari could be the best example. Old Enzo set up Scuderia in 1929 and raced whatever he could - from motorcycles to Duesenbergs, but generally Alfa Romeos.

Then Alfa Romeo put all the assets of its Grand Prix team in the man's hands, thus Ferrari became the de facto Alfa Romeo team. When Alfa came back to reform the team - á la Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union - Enzo would be reluctant and hold on to it. In later years, when racing prize money wasn't enough to keep the machinery going, Ferrari started to sell chassis and engines to 'coach' builders, thus the first road Ferraris were born, now being one of the most sought-after supercar manufacturer and Grand Prix team.

The story of McLaren is a similar one, too. Started up by Bruce McLaren, it quickly developed from being a racing seat to a well-known Formula One/Can-Am/Indy/whatever racing team and a Ferrari competitor on the roads recently. McLaren in Formula One, though, has been long associated with engine manufacturers such as Cosworth, Porsche, Honda, Peugeot and Mercedes. Their yet longest lasting collaboration with Mercedes (20 years!) came to a fruition on the road as well, giving a hand in the SLR.

Even before that, McLaren had its own venture into supercars (and Le Mans) with the "F1".

Recently, the road car department went ballistic and poured two, excellent supercars on the road with a third one coming. Now, that Honda is supplying engines to the F1 team from 2015 - after a 23-year hiatus - it is widely rumoured that McLaren could be the collaborator in creating the brand new Honda NSX.

Advertisement

Stuff of legends, Ayrton Senna (then of McLaren-Honda fame) helped fine-tuning the original NSX and both companies had their brightest years in their respective businesses when they were co-operating.

Honda terminating its support to McLaren at the end of 1992 was probably a huge mistake. It made Ayrton Senna to leave F1 altogether and Honda never achieved even the fraction of their former success with their new partnership with British-American Racing and their own factory team later on.

In the meantime, McLaren sought an engine deal with Cosworth and convinced Senna to stay, paying a huge amount of cash each race he entered, and made sure the car was damn fine. Legendarily, it was very much drivable, as the 1993 European Grand Prix would prove - Ayrton's greatest drive ever.

Ultimately, he couldn't be convinced and left for Williams for 1994.

Wait, that's not right. He WAS convinced, McLaren wasn't.

In October, 1993 he (along with Mika Hakkinen) hit the race track with a Lamborghini-powered, un-liveried McLaren and quite liked it. He wanted the engine to be used in the final race of the season, but McLaren was wavering, and soon enough, they signed Peugeot instead - which turned out to be one of the lowest points in the history of the team. Thus Senna to Williams.

What if it did happen and resulted in a road car?

"What did you just say?"

"Cosworth, Porsche, Honda, Lamborghini and now you want Peugeot?"

"I can't listen to this."

"These are nuts, I'd better show them."

"Awesome! Needs more scissor doors."

"Wait, is that a pelican?"

"Coming through, Ayrton!"

What would be your dream racing team - manufacturer match up for a road/racing car?

Photos of McLaren P1, F1 and Mercedes SLR are of Creative Commons licence. All watermarked images are courtesy of Sutton Images. Photo of Mika Hakkinen is of unknown source, taken from here.