Site logo

June 9 - a special day for McLaren

NEWS STORY
09/06/2008

They say you never forget your first time, and June 9 remains a seminal day in the history of the McLaren marque. It not only marks the 40th anniversary of the team's first ever Formula 1 victory but also set the precedent for four decades of grand prix success.

Bruce McLaren's F1 operation made its debut at the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, but it was not until 1968 that the squad began contesting every race with its own chassis – and it quickly got into the winning habit.

Bruce himself won first time out with the new M7A chassis at the non-championship Brands Hatch Race of Champions event, but it was at the Belgian Grand Prix, held on June 9 1968, that the marque first tasted glory in a full World Championship event.

And the wins kept coming: after Bruce's landmark victory in Spa, team-mate and fellow New Zealander Denny Hulme was first past the chequer at the Italian and Canadian Grands Prix later that same year.

While the philosophy within the team remains the same – to exist to win races and World Championships – Formula 1 has changed immeasurably.

Then and now

The workforce in 1968 comprised fewer than 30 people, two of whom work for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes today. Tyler Alexander travels with the team as a systems engineer and Ray Rowe works as a gearbox mechanic. In 2008, there are 1115 people based across three facilities at Woking, Brixworth (Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines) and Stuttgart (Mercedes-Benz Stuttgart). The partnership between McLaren and Mercedes-Benz has been in existence since October 1994, and has yielded 54 Grand Prix wins and three World Championships.

The M7A had no more than four people focused on its design, some of whom were also working simultaneously on the team's Formula 2 and CanAm programmes. McLaren Racing currently has more than 135 engineers in its design team working on the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23.

86 drawings were involved in the creation of the M7A. This year's Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 was the result of more than 4,600.

Two pages of technical regulations guided the designers in 1968. The 2008 FIA Technical Regulations consist of 60 pages. The Sporting Regulations comprise a further 43 pages.

While the nature of the circuits on the calendar has changed considerably, M7A still developed around 450bhp and achieved a top speed of 300km/h. In low-downforce trim on a high-speed circuit, MP4-23 will reach around 345km/h.

In 1968, Bruce and Denny travelled to 12 races spread over four continents. This year, Lewis Hamilton, Heikki Kovalainen and the entire Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team will race at 18 circuits in five continents.

1968 Belgian Grand Prix

Following McLaren's debut at Monaco in 1966, it took only 24 races for the team to win its first Grand Prix at Spa on June 9 1968.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

No comments posted as yet, would you like to be the first to have your say?

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2021. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms