Remember those who made the racing pinnacle the very best it could be as we capture small moments in Formula 1 history one memory at a time…
McLaren’s determination and will to win saw him overcome possibly the greatest battle of his life, Perthes Disease, which caused his left leg to grow much shorter than his right leg. Learning to walk again, as only the most resolute could, a young McLaren set his sights on motorsport domination outside his homeland.
In his native New Zealand, Bruce McLaren soon began racing competitively and joined many prestigious events of his time Tasman Series, Formula 1 and Indy 500. An accomplished racer, he joined the travelling Formula 1 circus in 1958 before winning a race in his own car in 1968 and finishing a close second for the 1960 F1 title.
However, McLaren is best known as the founding father of his namesake squad, the eight time constructors’ and twelve time drivers’ champions. From humble beginnings, McLaren Mercedes has grown to become a prestigious team with a story steeped in the sport’s classic history.
44 years after his untimely death, testing his own M8D challenger at Goodwood, his name lives on.
Say what you like about their current performance, there is no doubting that McLaren’s place in history has already been firmly cemented through its founder. Bruce McLaren proved that humble beginnings can create success of this magnitude. What many saw as blind optimism became a posthumous reality.
Often Formula 1’s elitist ways need reminding of this simple fact.
Bruce McLaren died in 1970 aged just 32 but his out of his short life grew the careers of many racers and mechanics who share the same love of Motorsport he once did.
“It would be a waste of life to do nothing with one’s ability, for I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.”
– Bruce McLaren in an extract from his book, ‘From the Cockpit’(1964).