Putting diesel in a petrol car isn’t just a rookie mistake, but a pretty dire one to make. It’s also pretty hard to do these days, as both cars and petrol pumps make it intentionally quite difficult for you to put the wrong type of fuel in your car.
It’s a particularly bad mistake to make if you’re actually in the oil business… And if you’re filling up a super-rare $15 million supercar. But one man has defied the odds and done exactly that.
François Perrodo, chairman of Anglo-French oil company Perenco and an accomplished endurance car racer, came clean on social media last week about how he accidentally filled up his road-legal McLaren F1 GTR with diesel, necessitating an emergency rescue from a team of motoring specialists. How embarrassing.
Thankfully the car’s okay, with only Perrodo’s ego left damaged. He’s had a good sense of humour about the whole ordeal though, as have his mates, who’ve added a sticker to his car’s fuel door saying ‘François No Diesel!’
“After 25 years of dedicated petrolhead life, I did the mother of all fuck ups,” Perrodo shared on Instagram. He does offer a justification for the mistake, though:
“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 [London] and it was as clean and dry as a petrol nozzle!”
Perrodo has joked that “even the f*cking dog laughs at me when I come home” and that he’s “been condemned to drive electric cars (and diesel) til the day I die.” Ah well. You gotta laugh.
Putting diesel in a petrol car isn’t as bad as putting petrol in a diesel car, but it’s still less than ideal (especially if your car is a finely-tuned exotic race car). Diesel is thicker than petrol and will clog up your car’s spark plugs and fuel systems, meaning your car just won’t start.
The McLaren F1 GTR is the racing variant of the iconic McLaren F1 sports car and is widely regarded as one of the best race cars of the 1990s. Powered by a naturally aspirated BMW 6.1L V12, it makes around 441kW: 20kW less than the road-going F1, but in a much lighter car.
Only 28 were ever made, making these exceptionally rare and desirable vehicles. Perrodo’s is particularly desirable as it’s one of only a handful of GTRs that were officially modified by McLaren to be street-legal. These modified GTRs don’t have the same air restrictor that race-spec GTRs have, so they’re actually much more powerful and are therefore the ultimate versions of the coveted McLaren F1.
Examples of the McLaren F1 GTR have previously sold at auction for prices between US$15-20 million.