Record McLaren road car gathering held on Bruce’s 80th
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Last weekend during the annual Silverstone Classic, a special parade took place to commemorate Kiwi motorsport legend Bruce McLaren on what would have been his 80th birthday.
Organised by the McLaren Owners Group, the meet is expected to be the largest-ever gathering of McLaren road cars in the same place at one time, a feat that is currently being officially certified as a Guinness World Record.
The initial target was to gather 80 cars for the parade, but as news spread across the European continent registrations quickly surpassed the organisers goal.
On the day 115 McLaren road cars, including 250 members of the UK McLaren Owners Group, made the pilgrimage to the world famous Silverstone race circuit to pay homage and celebrate the life of the Kiwi that started it all.
The parade included the latest McLaren model, the 720S, followed by a version of every road going model to wear the famous red Kiwi logo.
Fittingly, the lead 720S was piloted by Bruce’s daughter, Amanda, his only child who was only four years old when Bruce tragically lost his life in a testing accident at Goodwood in 1970.
McLaren road cars full the Hanger straight. Photo / Suppied
Speaking before big day Amanda, a McLaren Automotive Ambassador, expressed her excitement to be attending the special event on her father’s birthday.
“His dream to build road cars began with his prototype M6GT and has now been realised by the cars McLaren Automotive is producing,” she said.
“I know how proud my father would have been.”
Bruce was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and by the age of 14 had already restored an Austin 7 Ulster which he used to compete in his first competition hillclimb.
Strong local performances earned Bruce the inaugural ‘Driver to Europe’ scheme set up by the New Zealand International Grand Prix organisation in 1958.
Piloting a factory Cooper alongside Australian racing legend Jack Braham in 1959, 22-year-old McLaren became the youngest person to win a Formula 1 race at the United States Grand Prix.
In 1965, McLaren announced he was leaving the successful Cooper stable to form his own Grand Prix racing team. One year latter McLaren would claim his first GP win in a car he built himself at Spa, his fourth career win at the time.
Before he passed in 1970, aged just 32, the Kiwi racer had won the Le Mans 24 Hours, two Can-Am titles and four Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The history books now show that the team McLaren founded has won 20 F1 World Championships – 12 for drivers, eight for constructors – and 182 Grand Prix.
Today McLaren is also one of the world’s youngest, yet most successful makers of GT road cars - all of which started by a single Kiwi who dared to take on the world’s best, and won.