Bruce McLaren only lived for 32 years but in that short time, he achieved an astonishing amount.
Not just a Grand Prix-winning racing driver, McLaren’s vision extended far beyond the driver’s seat. An engineer, designer, inventor, and tester, Bruce was an automotive genius. One of only two men ever to win a Grand Prix in a racing car bearing his name, the motor racing company he started went on to become one of the most successful marques in motorsport. ‘It would be a waste of life to do nothing with one’s ability,’ Bruce McLaren said, and he certainly did not squander his.
Born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1937, at the age of 22 Bruce was the youngest ever Grand Prix winner – a record that stood for over 40 years.
The following year he won the Argentinean Grand Prix and for the decade that followed, he was one of the best drivers in the world and founded the McLaren Formula 1 team. Tragically, Bruce died while testing the McLaren M8D Can-Am car at Goodwood in 1970, however the McLaren marque continued in his memory, and today McLaren has become a world-leading technology company, now famous for its uniquely engineered cars. McLaren Automotive was founded in 2010, a company that shares its home with the McLaren racing team. A state-of the-art production centre was built as an extension to the famous headquarters in Woking, where the cars are hand assembled. However, before McLaren Automotive was officially launched, the company had already set its path when it created the iconic McLaren F1 road car, designed by Gordon Murray in the early 1990s. Only 106 models of the three-seat configured car were made and they now command a price tag of over £10m, being widely acknowledged as one of the greatest cars of the 20th century. Pioneering is a core value: it is seen in McLaren’s products, its philosophy and its building. The McLaren Production Centre is unlike any other car factory and reinforces McLaren’s presence as a technology company as well as an automotive one.
In its short seven-year history, McLaren Automotive has created some of the most iconic and exhilarating road cars the world has ever seen. Always at the forefront of new technology and design, it most notably leads the way in the use of carbon fibre in vehicle production. Since introducing a carbon chassis into racing and road cars with the 1981 McLaren MP4/1 and 1993 McLaren F1 respectively, McLaren has not built a single car without a carbon fibre chassis – this is the heart of the brand and at the heart of every car. A good example is the McLaren P1™, the world’s first hybrid ‘hypercar’ produced, which combines hybrid technology and shrink-wrapped design, illustrating McLaren Automotive’s design language throughout their products – breathtaking design that tells the visual story of their function.
Mike Flewitt, McLaren Automotive’s Chief Executive Officer, has been integral to the company’s success, and in 2016 he marked the introduction of the company’s new business plan, Track22, which sees the company investing £1bn in research and development to deliver 15 new models and derivatives by the end of 2022, of which at least 50 per cent will feature hybrid technology.
The first car launched under Track22 was the McLaren 720S in March 2017, which personifies the blend of extreme performance, crafted luxury and unparalleled driver involvement that is the McLaren heartland. The second car introduced is new McLaren 570S Spider, which made its world debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July 2017. It is the first convertible in the McLaren Sports Series and offers a unique-in-class combination of carbon-fibre construction, mid-engine drivetrain layout and McLaren dihedral doors. Engineering excellence and driving pleasure are at the heart of everything McLaren does, always driven by the relentless pursuit of perfection. Every car incorporates race-bred technology, pioneering innovation and an obsession with detail. It is how Bruce did it. It is how McLaren does it. It is how it should be done. As Bruce said: ‘Life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.’
MCLAREN TECHNOLOGY CENTRE, CHERTSEY ROAD, WOKING, SURREY GU21 4YH +44 (0)1483 261500