GOODWOOD CELEBRATES BRUCE McLAREN

 

This years Goodwood Revival remembered Bruce McLaren in style when it held a special parade of cars celebrating our founders incredibly successful and diverse career. With Bruces sister and daughter, Jan and Amanda McLaren, both present, Goodwoods Earl of March gave a speech about Bruce, describing him as a talented engineer and a world class racing driver. Also present were a host of friends and former colleagues, like designer Gordon Coppuck and mechanic-turned-McLaren team manager Alastair Caldwell. Old rivals from Can-Am and Formula 1, John Surtees and Sir Jackie Stewart, drove in the parade, along with McLaren Automotives CEO, Mike Flewitt, who drove the 1966 McLaren M2B.

 

 

As well as sports cars from Bruce’s early career, including the ‘Lycoming Special’ which had travelled from New Zealand, there was a handful of Coopers and Ford GT40s, representing his Formula 1™ and Le Mans wins; plus, of course, there were the McLarens. These ranged from an early 1965 M1A sports car, through to the M14A in which he scored his final podium in 1970. There was also a range of Can-Am cars that bellowed up the straights, the sound reverberating across the circuit. 

Also taking part was the former Aero-Development Mini Van which had been used by the team in the '60s to hone the early wings for the Formula 1™ and Can-Am racers.

 

 

Another star of the parade was Bruce’s own McLaren M6GT road car, brought over and entered by its US owner and driven on the parade lap by Amanda McLaren. This original McLaren M6GT was derived from the M6A Can-Am car, with a closed-coupé body. Bruce had planned to get the car homologated for Le Mans and the World Sportscar Championship, but the FIA required 50 cars to be built to satisfy the regulations, and this made the project too demanding for what was then a very small company.

Bruce scrapped the Le Mans project, but decided to develop the road car anyway. Working to deliver race winning technology to the road - an approach still applied to McLaren’s road cars today, Bruce had ambitious plans to launch the GT as the quickest sportscar in the world. In 1969, the factory produced this prototype, which Bruce used as his road car until his untimely death while testing a Can-Am car at Goodwood in 1970.

"TO BE REUNITED WITH THE M6GT AFTER SO MANY YEARS WAS INCREDIBLE, I LAST SAT IN IT WHEN I WAS A CHILD. TO DRIVE THE CAR AS PART OF THE TRIBUTE PARADE WAS AN EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE AND AN HONOR."

Amanda McLaren

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