THE WING MAN

We meet the man who designed the first McLaren Formula 1™ racing car.

 

 

On the 50th anniversary of his joining Bruce McLaren’s racing team, we meet Robin Herd, the man who designed the first McLaren Formula 1™ car.

With hindsight it seems like one of the most significant moments in the history of McLaren, but back in 1965 it was just another project for Bruce McLaren's busy new racing team: 50 years ago this summer, Bruce asked a young aeronautic engineer called Robin Herd to join him and design his team's first Formula 1™ car, while Bruce was busy racing in New Zealand. The resulting McLaren M2A was a radical and handsome single-seater: aerodynamically shaped, it was made out of a stiff aerospace composite material called Mallite, and Robin’s design experimented with a rear wing (three years before wings became commonplace in Formula 1™). 

The M2A was a testbed that led to the McLaren M2B, in which Bruce made his debut as a Formula 1™ driver/constructor at the Monaco GP in 1966. Robin went on to design championship-winning Can-Am cars for McLaren and the team's first Formula 1™ winner, the iconic, orange McLaren M7A. On the 50th anniversary of joining the team, Robin Herd tells his story.

 

Left to right: Robin Herd, Bruce McLaren and Business Manager Teddy Mayer at the McLaren factory on 6 June 1968

 

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