We’re all guilty of a blunder from time to time when we’re not concentrating. Maybe you’ve lost your wallet on a night out or forgotten to get milk at the supermarket. Stuff happens. However, you’ve probably never made an error of this scale – and almost certainly not one this expensive. Spare a moment for the guy who committed the unforgivable offence of filling up an ultra-rare, eye-wateringly expensive, Championship-winning McLaren F1 GTR race car with a tank of diesel instead of petrol.
This happened a little earlier in the year; hopefully lessons have been learnt since then. The error was made by French oil tycoon-turned-racing driver François Perrodo during a spirited Sunday drive in the No. 61 Lark-McLaren GTR. This very car propelled John Nielsen and David Brabham to a dramatic Championship win in the 1996 GT500 racing series. A car with serious racing history, you may say, and one that at least deserves the correct fuel.
Perrodo stated in an Instagram post, “after 25 years of dedicated petrolhead life, I did the mother of all f*ck ups! I put diesel in a McLaren F1 GTR… I don’t know what went through my head at that precise moment (actually, probably nothing) but I was so happy and excited I just grabbed the first nozzle available (which incidentally was blue, like 97 ultimate!) and then I started filling the car.”
Naturally, if any of us had made the same mistake, the excuses would immediately start rolling out. François is no different, explaining, “Firstly, had it been a modern car, the nozzle would not have fit in the hole but the GTR is a race car with a large aperture! Secondly, had we been in France, the diesel nozzle would have been disgusting and smelly but this was BP Chiswick and it was as clean and dry as a petrol nozzle!”
Blaming the cleanliness of the nozzle is certainly one we haven’t heard before. Perrodo later blamed his friends for not stopping him and even took a cheeky dig at the car’s legendary designer, stating, “the car is brilliant and you’d think Gordon (Murray) made zero compromise. Except he did one, the car won’t run on diesel.”
Safe to say that François will be the brunt of diesel-related jokes from his friends for the rest of his life, with the Frenchman saying, “Even the f** dog laughs at me when I come home! The road to redemption will be long and hard, til then, I have been condemned to drive electric cars (and diesel) til the day I die”. We just hope that François has learned his lesson and will check the label on the fuel pump from now on. Have you ever filled your car with the wrong fuel?