Inside the September 2019 issue


Just occasionally you receive a tip-off that just gets better the more you look at it. It usually starts off in an interesting but not earth-shattering way, but then new and exciting avenues open up as you ask more questions until, finally, you sit back and think: “Now that’s a proper story.”

That is what happened a few months ago when we were contacted out of the blue by an American reader. He was a racing enthusiast and historic racer and wanted to tell us about a restoration he has just completed. He said it was a significant car (aren’t they all), it had a fascinating history (they always do) and it was once owned and raced by Roger Penske.

Yes, that last bit caught our attention. Turns out the car was the one in which Penske lifted the USAC Road Racing Championship title in 1962 and then also won the 1963 Guards Trophy race at Brands Hatch. But that wasn’t all, said the restorer. Penske modified the car but then sold it on to a young Bruce McLaren.

A quick look at the dates shows that this, then, was the first car that McLaren actually bought and raced himself – making it arguably the original McLaren and certainly the launchpad for the global brand that his legacy has since become. And there’s more: McLaren modified the car further, paving the way for the marque’s dominance in one of motor racing’s all-time great formulas – Can-Am.

So here was a car – virtually unknown – but which had been the seed for not one but two of the biggest names in racing. Now, after decades it was about to remerge, fully restored.

That last phrase can often give cause for pause. Just what does “fully restored” actually mean? Is there, in fact, any of the original car left? Oh, yes, reassured the owner, and what’s more he had gathered some of the original engineers who had worked in the car in period to help restore it.

And so, our fantastic story about the greatest race car you’ve never heard of was born. It is a tremendous tale and Rob Ladbrook has done an amazing job of unpicking its complicated history with the help of Greg Heacock, the US owner and Motor Sport reader, who thankfully has kept meticulous records of his project. 



This month’s magazine then accelerates from the distant past to the very near future with our cover feature on Max Verstappen. As readers will know, the young Dutchman is mixing things up in the F1 paddock and is already being discussed as a future great. But what really makes him tick? What are his ambitions and what does he think of his fellow racers?

Mark Hughes asks all these questions and more in a rare one-to-one interview that took place just before the British Grand Prix. The answers will surprise readers more used to the bland platitudes often given (and reported by rival magazines) by F1 drivers.


Elsewhere in this month’s magazine, Simon Arron sits down for lunch with Trevor Carlin, one of the most influential figures in junior single-seater racing and a man who has helped advance the careers of drivers such as Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Kevin Magnussen, Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz; we meet Esmee Hawkey, one of the leading lights of the all-female W-Series and chat with the man who has put his money where his mouth is to rescue the troubled Bloodhound land speed record project.



All this plus our regular columnists Doug Nye, Andrew Frankel, Jennie Gow, Mark Hughes and Mat Oxley, not to mention a special preview of Pebble Beach, the world’s most glamorous – and envy-inducing – car show.

And remember, if you have a story that you think would make a feature in Motor Sport, please feel free to contact us and have a chat.

Some of the best features come to us that way… 

Happy reading.

Joe Dunn, Editor


December 2019
Ford vs Ferrari: The Le Mans '66 Film Special



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