Although McLaren is one of the most advanced manufacturers in the automotive industry, the company uses a laptop from the 90s to service the last hundred F1 models that it has out there. To put this into perspective, a McLaren F1 model costs $10 million – which is probably a bargain – and the computer software that’s being used to keep these models in check is a Compaq LTE 5280, reports Jalopnik.
Yes, it’s true in this digital day and age, McLaren is still using this laptop, which – if you can believe it – actually has a floppy disc drive. It saddens us that there’s going to be some people reading this who have never heard of these, even if they couldn’t store much information, they were still cool.
McLaren has an industrial complex that’s right by its production centre in Woking, which houses the company’s Special Operations workshop. It’s these that the retro *sigh* magic happens on this Compaq computer, among many other things.
It’s also from this Special Operations hub that it looks after the remaining 100 F1s that the manufacturer originally built in 1992.
A first of its kind, the McLaren F1 was a production car that had a carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, which was designed by Gordon Murray of Formula One fame.
It was truly ahead of its time, as it remains the fastest naturally-aspirated street legal car ever to be made. The car has clung on to this record since 1998, which is no mean feat, considering how much the automotive industry has developed over into the digital age.
Built with kevlar and gold, the McLaren F1s were what some might call decadent, however, the fact that it was a product of 90s technology meant that it also features decade-appropriate microchips. Step forward, Compaq LTE 5280.
A spokesperson for McLaren has said: “The reason we need those specific Compaq laptops is that they run a bespoke CA card, which is installed into them. The CA card is an interface between the laptop software (which is DOS based) and the car.”
Basically, contemporary laptops have software that is too advanced for the F1, so it needs to rely on technology from its own era. It’s really staying true to itself, as someone with an eye for romance might say.
The team at McLaren’s special operations are now working on building an interface that will be compatible with modern laptops because, surprisingly, this specific model of Compaq is becoming hard to find. Ebay, anyone??
Feature Image: Car Magazine
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