Bruce McLaren

Full Name:
Bruce Leslie McLaren
Born:
30th August 1937
Auckland, North Island
Died:
2nd June 1970 (Aged 32)
Goodwood, West Sussex (GB), testing
Nationality:
New Zealander
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

The McLaren name is one of most famous in motor racing history. Today that is thanks to the hugely successful Grand Prix team but its founder was a record-breaking Formula 1 driver in his own right. Bruce McLaren became the youngest GP winner so far in 1959 and that record remained for another 43 years.

Early racing career

The son of a World War II fighter pilot and garage owner, McLaren was a quietly spoken thinker who overcame early illness to win New Zealand’s 1958 Driver to Europe scholarship. The little-known youngster was an impressive newcomer. His Formula 2 performances that year included fifth overall in German GP with a works Cooper T45-Climax.

Formula 1 with Cooper

He remained with the team for the 1959 F1 World Championship and early-season placings included third in the British GP – his effortlessly mature form belied his youth. The year ended with a notable day for the Cooper team in the United States GP at Sebring. Jack Brabham was confirmed as world champion in a dramatic finale and McLaren benefited from his team-mate running out of fuel to score his breakthrough victory at just 22 years and 103 days old.

McLaren won the opening race of 1960 in the heat of Buenos Aires and was runner-up as Brabham again won the championship. When Brabham left to form his own team in 1962, the New Zealander was promoted to team leader but that coincided with the gradual decline of Cooper. He won the 1962 Monaco GP after Graham Hill’s engine failed during the closing stages but that was his only victory of the coming years as the team struggled.

Bruce McLaren Motor Racing

Bruce McLaren Motor Racing was formed for the 1964 Tasman Cup and he won the New Zealand GP for the first time with a Cooper T70-Climax. That was the first of three victories in a row as McLaren won the title although the series was marred when promising team-mate Timmy Mayer was killed at Longford.

Mayer’s brother Teddy remained with the team in a management position and McLaren left Cooper’s F1 team at the end of 1965. Teddy Mayer provided business acumen and his character was in sharp contrast to McLaren’s laid-back approach. Not that the boss was adverse to hard work for he swept floors and did any chore necessary as he established his marque.

Its F1 world championship debut was at the 1966 Monaco GP with the Robin Herd-designed McLaren M2B. He won that year’s Le Mans 24 Hours with a Ford GT40 and compatriot Chris Amon and 1967 Sebring 12 Hours with Mario Andretti. He was also crowned as 1967 Can-Am Champion when driving a McLaren M6A-Chevrolet.

That was the first of two Can-Am titles as his cars dominated the series. Reigning world champion Denny Hulme was his team-mate in 1968 but it was Bruce who fittingly scored McLaren’s first F1 victories in the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch and Belgian GP. Hulme won successive races in Italy and Canada to come third in the 1968 F1 World Championship.

McLaren finished in third position a year later after scoring points in all-but three GPs while Hulme ended the season by winning in Mexico. His team was successful on all fronts but Bruce McLaren, renowned as one of the safest drivers around, was killed while testing a Can-Am car at Goodwood on June 2 1970.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1970 F1 World Championship
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
3 0 1 0
0% win rate
14th 6
1969 Can-Am Challenge
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
6 0 6 6 1st 0
1969 F1 World Championship
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
9 (2) 0 3 0
0% win rate
3rd 26
1968 Can-Am Challenge
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
1 1 1 1 0
1968 F1 World Championship
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
11 0 3 1
10% win rate
5th 22
1968 Tasman Cup
Owen Racing Organisation
4 0 1 1
25% win rate
6th 11
1967 RAC British F2 Championship
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
4 0 2 0
0% win rate
3rd 13
1967 F1 World Championship
Anglo-American Racers
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
9 0 0 0
0% win rate
14th 3
1967 International Championship of Makes
Porsche System Engineering
Shelby American
Ford Motor Company
3 2 2 1 16
1967 Can-Am Challenge
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
2 0 2 2 1st 0
1967 European F2 Trophy
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1966 International Championship of Makes
Shelby American
2 0 1 1 11
1966 F1 World Championship
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
4 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
14th 3
1965 Tasman Cup
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
7 2 3 1
15% win rate
2nd 24 (26)
1965 International Championship of Makes
Shelby American
3 0 2 0 10
1965 F1 World Championship
Cooper Car Co
10 0 1 0
0% win rate
8th 10
1964 Tasman Cup
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
8 1 7 3
38% win rate
1st 39 (47)
1964 International Championship of Makes
Ford Motor Company
1 0 0 0 0
1964 F1 World Championship
Cooper Car Co
10 0 2 0
0% win rate
7th 13
1963 Speed and Endurance World Challenge
David Brown Corporation
1 0 0 0 0
1963 F1 World Championship
Cooper Car Co
10 0 3 0
0% win rate
6th 17
1962 Speed World Challenge
Briggs Cunningham
John Ogier
3 0 0 0 11
1962 F1 World Championship
Cooper Car Co
9 0 5 1
12% win rate
3rd 27 (32)
1961 World Sportscar Championship
Briggs Cunningham
1 0 0 0 0
1961 F1 World Championship
Cooper Car Co
8 0 1 0
0% win rate
7th 11
1960 F1 World Championship
Cooper Car Co
8 0 6 1
13% win rate
2nd 34 (37)
1959 New Zealand Gold Star 1st -
1959 World Sportscar Championship
Cooper Car Co
1 0 0 0 0
1959 F1 World Championship
Cooper Car Co
7 0 2 1
15% win rate
6th 16.5
1958 F1 World Championship
Cooper Car Co
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0