A freelance photographer says McLaren staff offered him thousands of dollars to not sell photos of a multi-million dollar McLaren F1 sports car which crashed near Queenstown yesterday.

Photographer James Allan arrived at the crash on the Queenstown-Glenorchy Rd about midday yesterday, well before any other media were at the scene.

The 1994 grey supercar, which is estimated to be worth $20 million and is capable of reaching a speed of almost 400km/h, appeared to have spun off the road into a ditch after a tight left-hand uphill bend.

Skid marks where the McLaren F1 on the Glenorchy-Queenstown Rd. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Skid marks where the McLaren F1 on the Glenorchy-Queenstown Rd. Photo / Otago Daily Times

The F1 was a part of the inaugural Epic New Zealand Road Tour, a convoy of 31 McLarens from around the world travelling from Auckland to Queenstown this week.


A McLaren staff member tried to tell Allan he couldn't take photos of the crash, the photographer said. When Allan replied that he was within his rights to, the man asked "how much to make this problem go away?"

The query resulted in an offer of thousands of dollars for his memory card.

Allan, who wouldn't disclose the exact amount, said he was "very surprised" at the offer.

"I've been working as a freelancer here for about seven or eight years and I've never had an offer like that."

Allan said he considered taking the money as it was far more than any media outlet would pay for the photos.

But he didn't get it, and McLaren didn't get their wish to keep the crash hush hush because other media turned up about an hour later.

"They tried to tell the other photographers that came to stay away too, but that didn't work out too well for them."

After the crash, the car was covered by a black McLaren dust cover and a person stood guarding it.


The driver, a 65-year-old Australian man, could face charges, Queenstown Sergeant Blair Duffy said yesterday.

He was swiftly taken to Queenstown Medical Centre for treatment for a broken or sprained thumb.

The tour, which pays tribute to the brand's Kiwi founder Bruce McLaren, was due to end on Saturday. The fleet of supercars that make up the convoy are collectively worth about $45 million.