Bruce McLaren

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Bruce McLaren
McLarenBruce.jpg
BornBruce Leslie McLaren
(1937-08-30)30 August 1937
Auckland, New Zealand
Died2 June 1970(1970-06-02) (aged 32)
Goodwood Circuit, West Sussex, England, UK
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality New Zealander
Active years1958 - 1970
TeamsCooper, McLaren, Eagle
Races104 (100 starts)
Championships0
Wins4
Podiums27
Career points188.5 (196.5)[1]
Pole positions0
Fastest laps3
First race1958 German Grand Prix
First win1959 United States Grand Prix
Last win1968 Belgian Grand Prix
Last race1970 Monaco Grand Prix
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years1959, 1961-1967
TeamsCooper Car Company
Briggs Cunningham
Aston Martin
Ford Motor Company
Shelby-American Inc.
Best finish1st (1966)
Class wins1 (1966)
 
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Bruce McLaren
McLarenBruce.jpg
BornBruce Leslie McLaren
(1937-08-30)30 August 1937
Auckland, New Zealand
Died2 June 1970(1970-06-02) (aged 32)
Goodwood Circuit, West Sussex, England, UK
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality New Zealander
Active years1958 - 1970
TeamsCooper, McLaren, Eagle
Races104 (100 starts)
Championships0
Wins4
Podiums27
Career points188.5 (196.5)[1]
Pole positions0
Fastest laps3
First race1958 German Grand Prix
First win1959 United States Grand Prix
Last win1968 Belgian Grand Prix
Last race1970 Monaco Grand Prix
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years1959, 1961-1967
TeamsCooper Car Company
Briggs Cunningham
Aston Martin
Ford Motor Company
Shelby-American Inc.
Best finish1st (1966)
Class wins1 (1966)

Bruce Leslie McLaren (30 August 1937 – 2 June 1970) was a New Zealand race-car designer, driver, engineer and inventor.

His name lives on in the McLaren team which has been one of the most successful in Formula One championship history, with McLaren cars and drivers winning a total of 20 world championships. McLaren cars totally dominated CanAm sports car racing with 56 wins, a considerable number of them with him behind the wheel, between 1967 and 1972 (and five constructors’ championships), and have won three Indianapolis 500 races, as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 12 Hours of Sebring.

Early life[edit]

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Bruce McLaren attended Meadowbank Primary School. As a nine-year-old, he contracted Perthes disease in his hip that left his left leg shorter than the right.

His parents, Les and Ruth McLaren, owned a service station and workshop in Remuera Rd, Remuera, Auckland.[2] Bruce spent all of his free hours hanging around the workshop and developed his passion during his formative years.

Career[edit]

Les McLaren restored an aging Austin 7 Ulster which 14-year-old Bruce used in 1952 when he entered his first competition, a hillclimb. Two years later he took part in his first real race and showed promise. He moved up from the Austin to a Ford 10 special and an Austin-Healey, then an F2 Cooper-Climax sports. He immediately began to modify and improve — and master - it, so much so that he was runner-up in the 1957–8 New Zealand championship series.

Driving career[edit]

Grand Prix[edit]

His performance in the New Zealand Grand Prix in 1958 was noted by Australian driver Jack Brabham (who would later invite McLaren to drive for him). Because of his obvious potential the New Zealand International Grand Prix organisation selected him for its 'Driver to Europe' scheme designed to give a promising Kiwi driver year-round experience with the best in the world. McLaren was the first recipient, to be followed by others later including Denny Hulme.

McLaren in the 1969 German Grand Prix

McLaren went to Cooper and stayed seven years. He raced in F2 and was entered in the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in which F2 and F1 cars competed together. He astounded the motor racing fraternity by being first F2, and fifth overall, in a field of the best drivers in the world.

McLaren joined the Cooper factory F1 team alongside Jack Brabham in 1959 and won the 1959 United States Grand Prix at age 22 years 80 days, becoming the youngest ever GP winner up to that time. He followed that with a win in the Argentine Grand Prix, the first race of the 1960 Formula One season, and he would finish runner-up that season to Brabham.

McLaren won the 1962 Monaco Grand Prix, eventually finishing a fine third in the championship that year. The next year he founded Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd, which remains in the Formula One championship simply as McLaren. McLaren continued to race and win in Coopers (including the New Zealand GP in 1964).

McLaren left Cooper at the end of 1965, and announced his own GP racing team, with co-driver and fellow Kiwi Chris Amon. Amon left in 1967 to drive for Ferrari. In 1968, McLaren was joined by another fellow Kiwi Denny Hulme, who had become world champion in 1967 with Brabham. McLaren took his fourth career win racing his own McLaren car at Spa in 1968, achieving the team's first Grand Prix win. Hulme won twice in the McLaren-Ford.

The 1969 championship was also a success, with McLaren finishing 3rd in the standings despite taking no wins. In tribute to his homeland, McLaren's cars featured the "speedy Kiwi" logo.

Can-Am Series[edit]

It was in powerful sports car racing where McLaren's design flair and ingenuity were graphically demonstrated. Just as the Can-Am began to become very popular with fans in Canada and the U.S., the new McLaren cars finished second twice, and third twice, in six races.

In 1967 they won five of six races and in 1968, four of six. The following year McLarens proved unbeatable, winning 11 of 11 races. In two races, they finished 1-2-3. (McLaren, Hulme and Mark Donohue).

In 1966 he and co-driver Chris Amon won the prestigious 24 Hour race at Le Mans in a Ford GT40.

Career as a Constructor[edit]

Bruce was a competitive driver but in many ways his legacy, the McLaren Racing Team, is testimony to his abilities as an analyst, engineer and manager that contributed much to the success of the cars that bore his name. In the early days of the McLaren sports cars Bruce was testing and as he drove out of the pits he noticed the fuel filler access door was flapping up and down as he drove. The current aerodynamic thinking was that it should have been pressed more firmly in place as the speed of the car increased. Instead, it bounced more vigorously as the speed increased. Instantly his frustration at the sloppy work changed and he had an insight. Stopping in the pits he jumped from the car, ran to a mechanics tool box, grabbed a pair of shears and started cutting the bodywork away behind the radiator. Climbing back in the car he immediately began turning lap times faster than before.

Later he explained,

I was first angry that the filler door hadn't been properly closed but then I began to wonder why it wasn't being pressed down by the airflow. The only answer was that there had to be a source of higher pressure air under it than over it.

From that session came the "nostrils" that have been a key McLaren design feature, even in the McLaren F1 road car, since that day.

Bruce McLaren noted that his team's cars were marginally less innovative than the Chaparral Cars of rival driver/designer Jim Hall but their superior reliability was rewarded by race and championship victories. Long after his death that culture prevailed and when Ron Dennis bought the team was reinforced by the lessons learned in his early career as a race mechanic.

Death[edit]

Bruce McLaren died (aged 32) when his Can-Am car crashed on the Lavant Straight just before Woodcote corner at Goodwood Circuit in England on 2 June 1970. He had been testing his new M8D when the rear bodywork came adrift at speed. The loss of aerodynamic downforce destabilized the car, which spun, left the track and hit a bunker used as a flag station.

Motorsport author Eoin Young has noted that Bruce McLaren had "virtually penned his own epitaph" in his 1964 book From the Cockpit. Referring to the death of team mate Timmy Mayer, McLaren had written:

The news that he had died instantly was a terrible shock to all of us, but who is to say that he had not seen more, done more and learned more in his few years than many people do in a lifetime? To do something 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.

Legacy[edit]

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

YearEntrantChassisEngine12345678910111213WDCPts.[1]
1958Cooper Car CompanyCooper T45 F2Climax Straight-4ARG
MON
NED
500
BEL
FRA
GBR
GER
5*
POR
ITA
MOR
12
NC0*
1959Cooper Car CompanyCooper T45 F2Climax Straight-4MON
5
500
NED
6th16.5
Cooper T51FRA
5
GBR
3
GER
Ret
POR
Ret
ITA
Ret
USA
1
1960Cooper Car CompanyCooper T51Climax Straight-4ARG
1
2nd34 (37)
Cooper T53MON
2
500
NED
Ret
BEL
2
FRA
3
GBR
4
POR
2
ITA
USA
3
1961Cooper Car CompanyCooper T55Climax V8MON
6
NED
12
BEL
Ret
FRA
5
GBR
8
GER
6
ITA
3
USA
4
8th11
1962Cooper Car CompanyCooper T60Climax V8NED
Ret
MON
1
BEL
Ret
FRA
4
GBR
3
GER
5
ITA
3
USA
3
RSA
2
3rd27 (32)
1963Cooper Car CompanyCooper T66Climax V8MON
3
BEL
2
NED
Ret
FRA
12
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
ITA
3
USA
11
MEX
Ret
RSA
4
6th17
1964Cooper Car CompanyCooper T66Climax V8MON
Ret
7th13
Cooper T73NED
7
BEL
2
FRA
6
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
ITA
2
USA
Ret
MEX
7
1965Cooper Car CompanyCooper T73Climax V8RSA
5
9th10
Cooper T77MON
5
BEL
3
FRA
Ret
GBR
10
NED
Ret
GER
Ret
ITA
5
USA
Ret
MEX
Ret
1966Bruce McLaren Motor RacingMcLaren M2BFord V8MON
Ret
USA
5
MEX
Ret
16th3
Serenissima V8BEL
DNS
FRA
GBR
6
NED
DNS
GER
ITA
1967Bruce McLaren Motor RacingMcLaren M4BBRM V8RSA
MON
4
NED
Ret
BEL
14th3
Anglo American RacersEagle T1GWeslake V12FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
Bruce McLaren Motor RacingMcLaren M5ABRM V12CAN
7
ITA
Ret
USA
Ret
MEX
Ret
1968Bruce McLaren Motor RacingMcLaren M7ACosworth V8RSA
ESP
Ret
MON
Ret
BEL
1
NED
Ret
FRA
8
GBR
7
GER
13
ITA
Ret
CAN
2
USA
6
MEX
2
5th22
1969Bruce McLaren Motor RacingMcLaren M7ACosworth V8RSA
5
3rd26
McLaren M7CESP
2
MON
5
NED
Ret
FRA
4
GBR
3
GER
3
ITA
4
CAN
5
USA
DNS
MEX
DNS
1970Bruce McLaren Motor RacingMcLaren M14ACosworth V8RSA
Ret
ESP
2
MON
Ret
BEL
NED
FRA
GBR
GER
AUT
ITA
CAN
USA
MEX
14th6

* McLaren was ineligible to score points in the 1958 German Grand Prix because he was driving a Formula Two car.

Non-Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

YearEntrantChassisEngine123456789101112131415161718192021
1958Cooper Car CompanyCooper T45Climax Straight-4BUEGLVSYRAIN
13
INT
9
CAE
1959Cooper Car CompanyCooper T45Climax Straight-4BUEGLV
6
AIN
3
INT
Ret
Cooper T51OUL
Ret
SIL
1960Cooper Car CompanyCooper T51Climax Straight-4BUE
Ret
GLV
4
Cooper T53INT
14
SIL
3
LOMOUL
4
1961Cooper Car CompanyCooper T53Climax V8LOMGLVPAUBRX
2
VIESOL
4
KANDANMODFLGOUL
3
LEWVALRANNATRSA
Cooper T55AIN
2
SYR
WD
NAPLONSIL
Ret
1962Cooper Car CompanyCooper T55Climax V8CAPBRXLOMLAV
1
GLV
2
PAUAIN
2
INT
5
NAPMALCLP
3
Cooper T60RMS
1
SOLKANMEDDANOUL
Ret
MEX
Ret
RANNAT
1963Cooper Car CompanyCooper T66Climax V8LOM
4
GLV
2
PAUIMOSYRAIN
5
INT
2
ROMSOLKANMEDAUTOUL
6
RAN
1964Cooper Car CompanyCooper T66Climax V8DMT
3
NWT
Ret
SYR
Cooper T73AIN
Ret
INT
15
SOLMEDRAN
1965Cooper Car CompanyCooper T77Climax V8ROC
5
SYRSMT
4
INT
6
MEDRAN
1967Bruce McLaren Motor RacingMcLaren M4BBRM V8ROC
Ret
SPR
5
INT
5
SYROULESP
1968Bruce McLaren Motor RacingMcLaren M7ACosworth V8ROC
1
INT
2
OUL
1969Bruce McLaren Motor RacingMcLaren M7BCosworth V8ROC
Ret
McLaren M7CINT
6
MADOUL
1970Bruce McLaren Motor RacingMcLaren M14ACosworth V8ROC
Ret
INT
4
OUL

Complete Tasman Series results[edit]

YearChassis12345678RankPoints
1964Cooper T70New Zealand
LEV
(3)
New Zealand
PUK
1
New Zealand
WIG
1
New Zealand
TER
1
Australia
SAN
Ret
Australia
WAR
2
Australia
LAK
(3)
Australia
LON
2
1st39 (47)
1965Cooper T79New Zealand
PUK
Ret
New Zealand
LEV
(5)
New Zealand
WIG
2
New Zealand
TER
2
Australia
WAR
Ret
Australia
SAN
4
Australia
LON
1
2nd24 (26)
1968BRM P126New Zealand
PUK
Ret
New Zealand
LEV
Ret
New Zealand
WIG
5
New Zealand
TER
1
Australia
SUR
Australia
WAR
Australia
SAN
Australia
LON
6th11

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Up until 1990, not all points scored by a driver contributed to their final World Championship tally (see list of points scoring systems for more information). Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.
  2. ^ "McLaren Garage (Former)". New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "McLaren film is launched". Grandprix.com. 19 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 

Related Books:

A list of further such volumes can be viewed at http://www.bruce-mclaren.com/about-bruce-mclaren/historical-books.html.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
None
Tasman Series Champion
1964
Succeeded by
Jim Clark
Preceded by
Jochen Rindt
Masten Gregory
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1966 with:
Chris Amon
Succeeded by
Dan Gurney
A.J. Foyt
Preceded by
John Surtees
Can-Am Champion
1967
Succeeded by
Denny Hulme
Preceded by
Dan Gurney
Brands Hatch Race of Champions winner
1968
Succeeded by
Jackie Stewart
Preceded by
Denny Hulme
Can-Am Champion
1969
Succeeded by
Denny Hulme
Records
Preceded by
Troy Ruttman
22 years, 80 days
(1952 Indianapolis 500)
Youngest Driver to score
Points in Formula One

21 years, 253 days
(1959 Monaco Grand Prix)
Succeeded by
Ricardo Rodríguez
20 years, 123 days
(1962 Belgian GP)
Preceded by
Stirling Moss
24 years, 303 days
(1954 British GP)
Youngest driver to set
Fastest Lap in Formula One

21 years, 322 days
(1959 British Grand Prix)
Succeeded by
Fernando Alonso
21 years, 321 days
(2003 Canadian GP)
Preceded by
Troy Ruttman
22 years, 80 days
(1952 Indianapolis 500)
Youngest Driver to score a
Podium Position in Formula One

21 years, 322 days
(1959 British Grand Prix)
Succeeded by
Elio de Angelis
21 years, 307 days
(1980 Brazilian GP)