The TAG McLaren Group purchases two Ultima Mk3 kits from Noble Motorsport Ltd.
McLaren was attracted to the Ultima by the excellent engineering, outright speed, lap times and the racing prowess of the Ultima Mk2/3. The two cars were used as prototypes during the development of the world’s most expensive and prestigious road car - the McLaren F1. The fact that the Ultima was well under the design weight of the proposed F1 and proportionally very similar were also factors in the decision.
Noble Motorsport Ltd supplied chassis number 12 and 13, which were the last of the thirteen Ultima Mk3 cars that the company sold. Chassis number 12, christened Albert by the McLaren Group, was used to test the new gearbox using a Chevrolet V8 engine to mimic the torque of the BMW V12. It was also used to test various other features, such as the central driving position and carbon brakes. Chassis number 13, which went under the name of Edward, was used to test the BMW designed V12 engine along with all its ancillaries such as the exhaust and cooling system. Both bodies were heavily modified to suit the many components under test.
Albert and Edward were so useful during the development of the F1 that they became known as the heavenly twins and even merited having their own badge design.
Albert and Edward were crucial to the development of the F1 and these two McLaren prototypes were later destroyed as the specialist magazines were still offering a fortune for sneak preview pictures.
McLaren continues its successful business relationship with Ultima by purchasing an Ultima GTR from Ultima Sports Ltd to utilise in the development of its upcoming new range of McLaren supercars.