McLaren remembers founder with fitting tribute

McLaren held a ceremony at its factory today to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of its founder, Bruce McLaren.

The Woking-based team used one of the Kiwi’s Can-Am cars to hold a minutes noise, allowing its engine to sound throughout the McLaren Technology Centre in recognition of the four-times Grand Prix winner.

McLaren’s Grand Prix debut came at Nurburgring in 1958 for Cooper – a team which he remained with for nearly eight seasons before setting up his own operation.

As well as wins in America in 1959, Argentina in 1960 and Monaco in 1962, his final victory in the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix will resonate more widely with modern day Formula One fans – as it was the first of Team McLaren’s 167 to date.  

In addition to racing in Formula One, McLaren competed in a number of other series, including Can-Am with his own team. Unfortunately, it was behind the wheel of one of these cars which cost the New Zealander his life – crashing while testing the M8D at Goodwood in 1970.

As part of today’s proceedings McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh played tribute to a man whose influence is still felt in the team’s modern day form.

“The 40th anniversary of Bruce McLaren’s death gives us the opportunity to reflect on his legacy, and to appreciate just how much of his original vision still lives on within our team,” he is quoted as saying by Autosport.

“Bruce made his name not only as a skilled and disciplined racing driver, but also as a pragmatic engineer with the inspiration, vision and determination to take on and beat the greatest teams in motorsport.

“It’s an ethos that still holds true to this day, and one which Ron Dennis was careful to foster and promote when he assumed control of the team in 1980. Through Ron’s guidance and stewardship, McLaren remains a company that is passionate about technology and engineering, and which is set apart by its keen sense of competition, attention to detail and desire to be the best.

“Bruce’s values have seen us maintain a winning legacy throughout six decades of competition, and have rewarded us with victories in the Formula 1 world championship, the North American Can-Am series, the Indy 500, Formula 5000 and the Le Mans 24 Hours. Winning will always be central to the McLaren DNA.

“We are honoured to uphold the McLaren name. And, for many millions of people around the world, the name McLaren is motor racing – there can be no greater testament to Bruce than that.”

Bruce McLaren: 30th August, 1937 – 2nd June, 1970.