Britain's Greatest Car Manufacturer - McLaren
The next in our series is a British staple of Motorsport, McLaren who has won championships in some of the most famous racing categories.
Bruce McLaren - Protégé in the Making
Bruce McLaren's story started at the age of 13 when he helped his father restore an Austin Ulster and later modified it into a race car. At the age of 15, Bruce entered the 750cc Muriwal Beech Hill Climb where he set the fastest time.
McLaren's Journey into Motorsport
Bruce embarked on his F1 career when he signed with the Cooper Car Company F1 team in 1958. It was only a year later that he became the youngest F1 winner when he took the chequered flag at the United States Grand Prix in Sebring in 1959. This feat was achieved only seven years after his debut as a 15-year old. Bruce drove for the Cooper Car Company F1 team From 1958-1965.
The Founding of McLaren
McLaren was Founded by Bruce McLaren in 1966. His successes had begun to extend past Formula 1 where he won Le Mans in 1966 and the Can-Am series where his team secured 5 constructors championships between 1967 and 1971.
McLaren has since become an established competitor in Motorsport where they have won at its highest levels such as F1, Le Mans, the Indianapolis 500 and the Can-Am championships. Bruce would tragically lose his life in 1970, at the age of 32 when the car he was testing for the Can-Am series had crashed.
Bruce McLaren is most remembered for this quote which is widely used to describe who he was.
"To do something so well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy. It would be a waste of life to do nothing with one's ability, for I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone". - Bruce McLaren
His team later went on to dominate the championship.
Bruce McLaren's Legacy
The McLaren team continued to race under his name and are the second oldest Formula 1 team behind Ferrari. They have won over 180 Grand Prix and 20 FIA F1 World Championships (12 Drivers and 8 constructors). They also debuted and won at the 1995 Le Mans. in addition to this, they won the 1972, 74 and 76 Indianapolis 500.
Outside motor racing, McLaren has designed and produced cars which have changed the landscape of their respective categories. Iconic models such as the McLaren F1 was so far ahead of its time that parts from that car are still used in present-day engineering.
"I believe anything is possible. Forget the moon — with an engine this potent, let's aim for Mars." - Peter Robinson review of the McLaren F1.
Other models which have cemented McLaren as a pioneering manufacturer is the McLaren P1 which has set new benchmarks in design and technology along with the Mclaren 540, 570 and 720S.
Remembering Bruce McLaren
Bruce's legacy was celebrated on what would have been his 80th year at the Silverstone Classic Racing festival in 2017 where 120 Mclarens will take to the circuit to celebrate the founder of McLaren, whose contribution to motorsport will be remembered.
Is Bruce's story the greatest of all-time or is there another? Next in our series is MG.