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McLaren to celebrate 50th anniversary

NEWS STORY
22/01/2013

"Life is measured in achievement, not in years alone"

When a 27-year-old Bruce McLaren penned those words in 1964, his new company, Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd, was less than a year old.

In those days, Bruce's vision was shared by fewer than half a dozen loyal souls, who slogged across the world to race his self-made cars. Nowadays, the McLaren Group employs more than 2000 people, all of whom still share Bruce's ideals of combining sportsmanship with solid engineering practice and cutting-edge technical expertise.

On September 2nd 2013, the McLaren Group will celebrate its 50th anniversary. If one were to follow Bruce's words to the letter, there'd be little time for recollection, but on the eve of its half-century the company has taken the opportunity to take a look behind it at the sweeping vista built up in the indelible shadow of its founder:

Its Formula 1 team has become a global household name; since its arrival in the sport, at the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, it has won more races (182) than any other constructor, started from pole position 155 times and scored 151 fastest laps. In 2012, it achieved the fastest-ever time for a Formula 1 pitstop (2.31s at Hockenheim), recorded its 58th consecutive points-scoring finish, an all-time record, and has led more than 10,000 racing laps.

The exploits of its greatest world champions will always bring F1 to life: Emerson Fittipaldi ignited the passion of his native Brazil; James Hunt created as many headlines on the front pages as on the back; Niki Lauda and Alain Prost turned sport to science; the burning intensity of Ayrton Senna will live on for ever, while Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton will always be remembered for their raw speed and fearless aggression.

It's legacy in North American sportscar racing is writ equally large: in the heyday of the mighty CanAm series, McLaren steamrollered the opposition, lifting five successive championship trophies (1967-1971) and winning an incredible 43 races in its iconic, thundering V8-engined sportscars.

It went to the Indy 500 for the first time in 1970, returning with greater strength until it won the USA's most famous motor race in 1974 with Johnny Rutherford. It repeated the feat with Rutherford in 1976.

Today, every single car in Formula 1, the Indycar Series and NASCAR relies upon McLaren Electronics' standardised ECUs to control their engines and feed data back to the garage.

Introduced back in 1993, the McLaren F1 road car has lost none of its unique appeal and is still considered by many to be the automotive world's definitive supercar. To this day, it remains the fastest naturally aspirated production car in the world. In GTR racing guise, it won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, also scooping third, fourth and fifth places on its debut in 1995.

The next road car project was with German manufacturer Mercedes-Benz, and saw the successful build of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, which became the best-selling carbon-based car ever.

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