LEGO Speed Champions’ strangest 2023 car is actually based on a video game

There’s an odd duck among the latest wave of LEGO Speed Champions sets, and it’s unique for a reason: because it’s actually based on a video game.

Four new LEGO Speed Champions sets will race on to shelves on March 1, and headlining the pack is 76918 McLaren Solus GT & McLaren F1 LM. The bright orange F1 LM has plenty of pedigree among motorheads: it was originally produced in 1995, limited to five cars, as a road-worthy version of the F1 GTR that won that year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

But for as much as nobody reading this is likely to ever see, let alone drive or even own, a McLaren 1 LM, the car it’s paired with in this year’s LEGO Speed Champions double-pack is even more of a novelty. That’s because the McLaren Solus GT is actually based on a futuristic concept originally created for the video game Gran Turismo Sport in 2017.

Gran Turismo Sport McLaren Ultimate Vision concept car
Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment / Polyphony Digital

A group of the most iconic car manufacturers in the world have contributed to the Vision Gran Turismo program for Gran Turismo 6, Gran Turismo Sport and the most recent entry in the racing sim series, Gran Turismo 7. Among those are Aston Martin, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen and McLaren, the latter of which submitted a ‘McLaren Ultimate Vision’ concept for Gran Turismo Sport.

The vast majority of these vehicles have been lauded for their unique and novel approach not only to performance – some use ground-breaking aerodynamic and propulsion technology – but also for their aesthetics, which are largely unique in the world of supercars and hypercars. That much is true for the McLaren Ultimate Vision, too – and it’s that car on which the McLaren Solus GT, a track-only hypercar due to join the McLaren Ultimate Series in 2023, is based.

It’s why the LEGO model looks so radical compared to the rest of the 2023 Speed Champions line-up (even the equally-modern 76915 Pagani Utopia), and why it presented a unique building challenge for the design team. More importantly, it’s why the car actually sits outside the eight-stud-wide template introduced in 2020.

LEGO Speed Champions 76918 McLaren Solus GT McLaren F1 LM box front

“What’s super cool about this car – as well as it just being a fantastic opportunity to work with McLaren again – is it’s nine [studs] wide, which sounds cool but was a very big headache in the Speed Champions garage,” LEGO Speed Champions Design Lead Chris Stamp told YouTuber RacingBrick

“All of our cars are in scale with each other, so it had to be nine-wide, just like with 76906 1970 Ferrari 512 M – that was nine at the back [and] eight at the front; that’s how the real car was. This car is a lot wider in real life than for example the F1 or some of the other hypercars, so it had to be nine-wide.”

The real-life Solus GT is cast in a few different colourways over on McLaren’s website, but the LEGO Group has chosen a mix of three hues for a very particular reason. “We’ve taken that iconic black and white colour palette that you guys will know it for if you’ve played a certain video game,” Stamp says, alluding to Gran Turismo Sport without naming the title, “but we’ve added orange highlights so that it ties closer to the McLaren F1 in this double-pack.”

The LEGO car also features another nod to its video game legacy through its steering wheel, which uses a LEGO video game controller element to replicate the real-life car’s steering wheel.

Stamp added that as a result of the complex design challenges the car presented, the Solus GT is LEGO Speed Champions’ ‘most unique build experience’ for 2023. You’ll be able to check it out for yourself when 76918 McLaren Solus GT & McLaren F1 LM launches on March 1.

Every LEGO Speed Champions set confirmed for 2023 so far

LEGO setPricePiecesRelease date
76914 Ferrari 812 Competizione£19.99 / $24.99 / €24.99261March 1, 2023
76915 Pagani Utopia£19.99 / $24.99 / €24.99249March 1, 2023
76916 Porsche 963£19.99 / $24.99 / €24.99280March 1, 2023
76917 2 Fast 2 Furious Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34)£19.99 / $24.99 / €24.99319January 1, 2023
76918 McLaren Solus GT & McLaren F1 LM£39.99 / $44.99 / €44.99681March 1, 2023

Support the work that Brick Fanatics does by purchasing your LEGO using our affiliate links.

Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

Leave a Reply