Bruce McLaren - Star in The Making
Bruce McLaren (1937-1970) was a racing driver from New Zealand.
His passion for cars and racing took him to the pinnacle of motorsport where his legacy lives on in the form of McLaren Racing, one of the most successful F1 teams in history.
Bruce’s appetite for engineering and racing started as early as 13. He helped his father restore an Austin Ulster before modifying it into a racing car. Just two years later, Bruce set the fastest time at the 750cc Muriwal Beech Hill Climb.
With aspirations to race in Europe, it wasn’t long before the young Kiwi came knocking. Bruce embarked on his F1 career when he signed with the Cooper F1 team in 1958.
Bruce McLaren's F1 Career
It wasn’t long before his potential was realised.
In only his second year, he took the chequered flag at the US Grand Prix in Sebring and became the youngest F1 winner in the process.
Despite achieving this feat with the Cooper F1 Team, Bruce was still harbouring ambitions to create his own team and founded The McLaren Racing Team in 1963. You can read about their story here: Britain's greatest car manufacturer McLaren.
Over his F1 career, Bruce had accumulated 4 race wins but he was more than just Formula 1 though. He had a penchant for all forms of racing and travelled the world to do it.
Bruce McLaren's Racing Legacy
His ability to adapt and utilise his skills, knowledge and experience helped him to conquer iconic racing series such as Le Mans and didn't he do that in style?
Do you remember the famous Ford 1,2,3 in the 1966 edition? It released the stranglehold of Ferrari and created history. You can read more about it here: Le Mans Winning Ford GT40 MK II is up for Auction.
Other successes include the Tasman Series and Can-Am which he used, in part, to fund McLaren's F1 ambitions.
Bruce McLaren Death
Before the 1971 Can-Am season, McLaren suffered a major setback when Bruce tragically lost his life, aged 32, when the car he was testing had crashed.
The loss of their leader only compelled McLaren to continue as they dominated that season and created a legacy revered to this day.
McLaren continues to race under the name of the founder and today they are known as McLaren Racing Limited.
Summarising Bruce McLaren is difficult. He was such an iconic character, it’s nearly impossible. However, he did say this once…
“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.
Bruce McLaren spoke these immortal words which became a fitting tribute for someone who contributed so much to the world of motorsport.
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