Called initially Bruce McLaren Motor Racing, this luxury sports car brand was founded by an F1 Driver named Bruce McLaren. They were the first-ever team that made a car around a carbon-fiber monocoque, which is a process that is now being done in most forms of motorsports. The McLaren cars have become one of the most successful car manufacturers when it comes to F1 racing. Aside from that, they have also manufactured some of the world’s fastest sports cars. That’s why in this article, we are going to take a look at McLaren’s history and how they became one of the world’s respected luxury car brands.
History of McLaren
As we mentioned, McLaren was founded by an F1 driver named Bruce McLaren, who was born in New Zealand in 1937. He first learned about engineering and cards at his parent’s workshop and service station in Auckland, New Zealand. When he was just fifteen years old, he entered a local Hillclimb using an Austin 7 Ulster and won his first race in his car. In 1958, McLaren went to the United Kingdom with the dream to help New Zealand and Australian racers to compete in Europe. Jack Brabham, his mentor, introduced him to Cooper Cars, which is a small team that can help him in competing in a race. In 1958, Bruce McLaren joined the Formula One team, and that same year, he won his first US Grand Prix at the age of 22, which made him the youngest Grand Prix winner. After that, he won three more Grand Prix and other races. He drove for Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Ford.
In 1963, Bruce McLaren founded Bruce McLaren Motor Racing. After a year, they built their very first McLaren Racecar named the M1A and produced about 24 of them. Its successor, the M1B, was able to bring McLaren into the Can-Am championship and be the dominant victor with other 43 victories. Two years later, McLaren made their first Formula One Car, and they called it the M2B, which debuted at the Monaco Grand Prix.
After all his victories, McLaren started designing and testing a light sports car that has an estimated top speed is 165mph and zero to 100 mph time of seconds, which they called the M6GT. But in 1970, McLaren died in a car crash before he could complete the prototype.
After McLaren died, Teddy Mayer took over the team. In 1981, they decided to team up with Ron Dennis’ Project Four Racing. Eventually, Dennis took over as the team’s principal. He organized a buyout of the original McLaren shareholders to be able to take full control of the organization. Ron Dennis became the Chairman of the group, a position he let go in 2009 but retake a year later.
In 2019, the Bahrain royal family’s Mumtalakat investment company owns about 56% of McLaren Group.
Interesting Facts About McLaren
- Bruce McLaren died in an accident while he was testing one of his own cars.
- McLaren won the Indy 500 three times.
- Since 1984, every McLaren Formula One car starts with MP4 – Since McLaren merged with Ron Dennis’ Project Four Racing, every car they made has been McLaren Project Four. Hence, the name MP4.
- The McLaren Technology Centre is incredible – It is shaped like yin-yang, and there is a pond that generates heat using a wind tunnel.
- Their HQ is not just for research and corporate office – It is also a museum and some of the most important British race cars of all time are displayed in there.
- Every single NASCAR team is powered by McLaren – The company provides a specialized system for NASCAR teams, and they also supply ECU to every F1 and IndyCar team.
- McLaren also owns several restaurants – Absolute Taste is the name of the series of restaurants that McLaren owns. It is also a respected name in the catering world. In fact, they partnered with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey to feed other respected celebrities and personalities such as the Beckhams.
- McLaren also manufactures bobsleds, too. – In fact, one of their bobsleds even took home the gold medal at the Sochi Games for Great Britain.
McLaren is everywhere – The company also provides data management software. McLaren works with big companies such as Aquafresh and even GlaxoSmithKline.