Bruce McLaren’s life and achievements remembered

McLaren Automotive marked the 50th anniversary of Bruce McLaren’s death with a private ceremony at the company’s Woking, UK, headquarters on June 2, 2020.

Bruce’s daughter Amanda McLaren unveiled a new life-sized statue of the pioneering racer and engineer in commemoration of her father’s life and achievements.

Bruce was just 32 years old when he was killed while testing a McLaren M8D Can-Am race car on the Goodwood Circuit. After the statue unveiling further tributes were shared on the McLaren website at 12.19pm (BST); the moment Bruce departed Goodwood’s pit lane for the final time 50 years ago. 

Bruce McLaren 1968

McLaren Automotive has remembered the life and achievements of Bruce McLaren, who died 50 years ago, on June 21970. The pioneering racing driver and engineer was killed while testing one of his Can-Am racing cars at the Goodwood Circuit in West Sussex, UK. 

In 1963 founded Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd, the company that evolved through almost six decades to become McLaren as it is globally recognised today. 

In commemoration of her father, Amanda McLaren – a McLaren Automotive brand ambassador – unveiled a life-sized statue of Bruce McLaren during a private ceremony at the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) in Woking, Surrey, UK. 

Fifty lighted candles were also placed around a 1970 McLaren M8D displayed at McLaren’s headquarters.  

Mclaren M8D

The ‘sister car’ to the M8D in which Bruce McLaren was killed, it was driven to championship victory in the 1970 Can-Am race series by Bruce’s team-mate and fellow Kiwi racer, Denny Hulme. This was the second time Hulme had secured the championship, McLaren himself taking the honours in 1967 and 1969. The McLaren team dominated Can-Am racing from 1967 for five consecutive years. 

“It is an honour to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Bruce McLaren by unveiling this wonderfully crafted statue to commemorate his life and achievements,” said Bruce’s daughter, Amanda, at the ceremony. 

“When my father died in June 1970 – just 12 years after coming to the UK from New Zealand – he had already done so much to realise his ambitions, but the best was still to come. McLaren’s accomplishments over more than 50 years in Formula 1, the landmark victory at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans race and the supercars and hypercars designed, developed and built under the McLaren banner, all stand as his legacy.   

“June 2 is always an emotional date for us and that’s particularly true this year. Having Dad looking out over McLaren is incredibly moving and I know that he would have been so very proud of the achievements made in his name.” 

The bronze statue of Bruce McLaren was created by painter and sculptor, Paul Oz. Globally recognised for his motorsport-inspired art, Oz was previously commissioned by McLaren Racing to produce a sculpture of Ayrton Senna that is also at the MTC. Senna drove for McLaren for six years, winning all three of his Formula 1 World Championships at the wheel of a McLaren in 1988, 1990 and 1991. 

Bruce McLaren himself debuted the newly formed McLaren team in Grand Prix racing in 1966, competing in Monaco. He also delivered the maiden McLaren Grand Prix victory, winning in 1968 at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. This was Bruce’s fourth Formula 1 victory, adding to the three he recorded driving for Cooper. 

The team that still bears the Kiwi icon’s name has since achieved a total 182 race wins, bringing 12 Drivers’ Championships and 8 Constructors’ Championships to become the second most successful team in Formula 1. McLaren also has three Indianapolis 500 victories to its name and earlier this year the team returned to full-time IndyCar competition for the first time in 40 years. 

While Bruce McLaren himself never produced road cars in any number, the McLaren name was further cemented in automotive history with the introduction in 1992 of the McLaren F1, the car famously going on in race guise to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in 1995 at the team’s first attempt. 

Further tributes to Bruce can be found at https://cars.mclaren.com/en/latest/post/bruce-mclaren-50th-anniversary

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