McLaren MP4/4 (1988) Japanese GP - Prost
Having completed just a handful of laps in the new 1988 MP4/4, Alain Prost reportedly told Team Principle Ron Dennis that he knew the car would win the World Championship. And so he was proved, as the McLaren MP4/4, driven by Frenchman Prost and his newly signed Brazilian teammate Ayrton Senna, went down in the annals of Formula One history as the most dominant Formula 1 car of all time, with a win rate of 93.8%.
The MP4/4 won 15 out of 16 races, losing only Monza which many felt was a self-inflicted defeat, after Senna tripped over backmarker Jean-Louis Schlesser’s Williams-Judd in the first chicane. Senna won eight of those races to take his first World Championship, despite having been disqualified in the opener in Brazil. At the same time, winning a scarcely less remarkable seven rounds, Prost found himself just three points adrift of the top slot leaving McLaren’s nearest rival, third placed Gerhard Berger, literally miles behind. By the end of the season McLaren had scored a phenomenal 199 points in the Constructors’ Cup, almost three times the tally of runner-up Ferrari and a record that would stand until 2002. The duo’s qualifying record was equally as strong: Senna started on pole no fewer than 13 times with Prost qualifying first on two of the three other occasions.
The high level of optimism at McLaren, following the arrival of its new 1.5 litre Honda RA168E V6 turbo engine and of Ayrton Senna as Prost's partner, was not diluted by rule changes for the 1988 season. These brought in a further reduction in fuel capacity to 150 litres and a mandatory 2.8-bar turbo boost limit, the benefit of both in theory going to McLaren’s normally aspirated rivals, in a move clearly made ahead of the imminent ban on turbo technology which would come into effect for 1989. So swingeing was the fuel capacity rule that many expected 1988 to be a transitional year for the turbo teams rather than a winning one. But for McLaren, at least, it was to be nothing of the sort. With light overall weight, outstanding downforce, highly efficient brakes and suspension, a fabulous V6 and two of the best drivers of all-time behind the steering wheels, there is little doubt that the MP4/4 was McLaren's, and arguably the best-ever car Formula 1.
This fine 1:8 scale model of the McLaren MP4/4 has been handcrafted and finished in our workshops using detailed colour and material specifications, and original CAD data supplied directly from the drawing office of McLaren. Furthermore, it has undergone detailed scrutiny by both engineering and design teams to ensure complete accuracy of representation.
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