Bruce McLaren was an Auckland race car designer, race-car driver, technical director and engineer. He is best known for his designs of the first Formula One race cars and for designing the Toyota Corolla for Toyota in the 1950s. McLaren designed the Lotus for Enzo Ferrari.
After graduating from the University of Auckland, McLaren moved to Melbourne where he designed the original BMW M1 race car. The car won the Australian Grand Prix, which it shared with the Ford Mustang of Tom Pryce, John Collins and Jacky Ickx. During his time in Australia, McLaren won six races and finished in second place. His first Formula One race was the 1963 British Grand Prix.
In Australia, McLaren worked on the design for the all-terrain vehicle for the Australian-based racing series, the Grand Prix Drivers Club. It was based upon the British Touring Car Championship. He was also involved in the design of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, which was built and is driven by Jackie Stewart. McLaren was also involved in the development of the Lotus 29C and also in the development of the Ferrari 250 TR, a race car that was the first to incorporate the air flow management system.
The McLaren racing team also had their own car, the F1, which was also designed by Bruce. It won the 1966 British Grand Prix and was also raced by Mika Hakkinen, Jim Clark, Jo Siffert and David Brabham. It was named after Bruce's wife, Mandy. The car was later replaced by the F1 of Ayrton Senna.
McLaren moved to England, where he began designing some of the most sought-after sports cars ever made. Among the major works of his career include the Lamborghini Countach, which won four consecutive grand Prix races between 1967 and 1970; the McLaren F1-GTR, which were the fastest road car for a full lap in history at the 1974 Le Mans 24 hours; the Ferrari 275 GTB/4 of 1978; and the Ferrari F40, which won the European Touring Car Championship with relative ease in 1980.
Bruce McLaren was married to Mandy in 1976. They have three children, Sarah, Peter and Nick. The family has been in Australia since the 1930s. Bruce McLaren had a strong influence in the Australian motorsport scene, having designed a number of racing cars including the Leyton House, which won the 1979 Bathurst 1000. and the Leyton House Racing Series which was won twice.
In 1992 he designed the BMW M1, one of the first turbocharged road cars to enter the Formula One arena. He also had a hand in the development of the first hybrid car.
Bruce McLaren was an active member of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, which he was a life member of from 1940 to 1972. He was also a member of the Automobile Club de France (ACE) in France. He was an enthusiastic patron of motorsports and was one of its first vice-presidents. He was also a member of the Australian Sports Car Club (ACM), of which he was a lifelong supporter of the sport of motorbikes.
Bruce McLaren suffered a stroke in January 1980 while riding his bike in Australia. He is survived by his wife, Mandy; their three children, Sarah, Peter and Nick; his brother, John, and his father.
Mandy's brother, John, is a racing driver and is the owner of the only touring car racing team in Australia today. His son Nick is the owner of another touring car racing team.
Bruce McLaren was born in South Africa. Mandy was born in New Zealand, which she was brought up in. Her father was a civil engineer who worked for a mining company in South Africa.
Mandy's brother, Nick, is also the owner of a motorbike racing team. His family owns a racing car factory in Australia as well.
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