The McLaren F1 supercar can only be serviced with this ancient Compaq laptop – ExtremeTech

McLaren Automotive

McLaren Automotive uses cutting edge technology to construct a few of the a lot of powerful and beautiful sports cars on the planet. However, the decades-old McLaren F1 still holds a special put in the hearts of numerous auto buffs. It’s essentially a Formula One race auto that you can easily get (if you’re fairly rich). However, servicing this job of automotive art needs technology that is anything however cutting edge. In fact, your smartphone is considerably a lot faster compared to the Compaq LTE 5280 laptop McLaren uses to interface along with the F1.

The McLaren F1 was released in 1992 along with a rate tag north of $800,000. all of that coin bought you the a lot of powerful supercar worldwide along with 630 horsepower and a raft of sophisticated proprietary technologies. McLaren would certainly eventually construct 106 of these cars, 100 of which are still in existence today. Any person that owns among these vehicles makes sure to wish to take appropriate care of it as the value has actually skyrocketed to much more compared to $10 million each.

Even along with all of the racing-grade cables, carbon fiber chassis (a initial as quickly as it was released), and custom BMW V12 engine, it was still made in the early 90s. That means the car’s mind is permanently stuck in the past. as quickly as the moment pertains to have actually the McLaren F1 serviced, owners go straight to McLaren. You’d never ever permit some random mechanic root about inside your $10 million supercar. In order to access the diagnostic units of the F1, McLaren needs to speak its ancient language along with the help of an equally as ancient laptop, the aforementioned Compaq LTE 5280.


The Compaq LTE line of laptops were introduced in 1989 and were a few of the initial computers that were actually portable. The 5280 came along with an 11.3-inch color LCD along with a resolution of 800×600, and unheard of luxury in its day. Inside was a 120MHz Intel Pentium chip, 16MB of RAM, and a massive 1.35GB tough drive. It was actually top-of-the-line in its day, considerably enjoy the McLaren F1. The Compaq hasn’t aged as well.

McLaren is stuck making use of these archaic laptops due to the fact that they run a permanently custom CA card that acts as an interface in between the auto and the laptop’s DOS-based software. as quickly as among its old Compaq laptops dies, McLaren has actually to locate another. You can easily decide on up a Compaq LTE 5280 on eBay on your own for about $100. It’s obtaining harder to locate reliable hardware, as you may expect.

The automaker is functioning on a brand-new interface for the F1 that will certainly permit the cars to speak to modern computers, however it’s a confusing endeavor. Until that’s done, McLaren will certainly should sustain its cluster of ancient laptops operating to service among the a lot of helpful supercars on the planet.