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McLaren marks 50th anniversary of the death of founder Bruce McLaren

NEWS STORY
02/06/2020

McLaren has marked the 50th anniversary of the death of founder Bruce McLaren with a private ceremony at the company's headquarters in Woking.

The pioneering racing driver and engineer was killed aged 32 on June 2, 1970, while testing a McLaren M8D Can-Am race car at the Goodwood Circuit in West Sussex.

Renowned as a winner of Formula 1 Grands Prix, Can-Am championships and the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a driver, and the founder in 1963 of Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd, the foundation for today's McLaren.

To mark the occasion, his daughter Amanda McLaren unveiled a life-sized statue of her father in commemoration of his life and achievements.

50 lighted candles were also placed around a 1970 McLaren M8D displayed at McLaren's headquarters. The 'sister car' to the M8D in which Bruce McLaren was killed, it was driven to championship victory in the 1970 Can-Am race series by Bruce's team-mate and fellow Kiwi racer, Denny Hulme. This was the second time Hulme had secured the championship, McLaren himself taking the honours in 1967 and 1969. The McLaren team dominated Can-Am racing from 1967 for five consecutive years.

"It is an honour to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Bruce by unveiling this wonderfully crafted statue to commemorate his life and achievements," said Amanda McLaren. "When my father died in June 1970 - just 12 years after coming to the UK from New Zealand - he had already done so much to realise his ambitions, but the best was still to come.

"McLaren's accomplishments over more than 50 years in Formula 1, three Indianapolis 500 wins, five successive Can-Am championships, the landmark victory at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans race and the supercars and hypercars designed, developed and built under the McLaren banner, all stand as his legacy.

"June 2 is always an emotional date for us and that's particularly true this year. Having 'Dad' looking out over McLaren is incredibly moving and I know that he would have been so very proud of the achievements made in his name."

"Today, on the 50th anniversary of Bruce McLaren's death, we remember what he created," added Zak Brown. "Bruce was a racer, an innovator and a leader, and all of us at McLaren strive each day to follow the example he set us. Bruce stands as a hero of our sport, immortalised by this statue which is surrounded by his legacy.

"We take a moment on this important day to mourn his loss, but to also draw inspiration from his life. Bruce's spirit lives on through all the people that work at McLaren today. We race in his honour, fearlessly forward, in the pursuit of better."

The bronze statue of McLaren was created by painter and sculptor, Paul Oz. Globally recognised for his motorsport-inspired art, Oz was previously commissioned by McLaren Racing to produce a sculpture of Ayrton Senna that is also at the MTC. Senna drove for McLaren for six years, winning all three of his Formula 1 World Championships at the wheel of a McLaren in 1988, 1990 and 1991.

Bruce himself debuted the newly formed McLaren team in Grand Prix racing in 1966, competing in Monaco. He also delivered the team's maiden Grand Prix victory, winning in 1968 at Spa-Francorchamps. This was Bruce's fourth Formula 1 victory, adding to the three he recorded driving for Cooper.

The team that still bears his name has since achieved a total 182 race wins, bringing 12 drivers' championships and 8 constructors' championships to become the second most successful team in Formula 1.

McLaren also has three Indianapolis 500 victories to its name and earlier this year the team returned to full-time IndyCar competition for the first time in 40 years.

While Bruce McLaren himself never produced road cars in any number, the McLaren name was further cemented in automotive history with the introduction in 1992 of the McLaren F1, the car famously going on in race guise to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995 at the team's first attempt.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Egalitarian, 03/06/2020 0:05

"I swear, whenever I see that M8 and the M7 (is it??) , a bit o' wee comes out."

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2. Posted by Wokingchap, 02/06/2020 9:48

"Applause."

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