|McLaren together with
Ferrari are the two most successful teams in Grand Prix history and like
Ferrari McLaren have had success in other classes of racing, notably Can-Am
and Indy car racing. Bruce McLaren had bought the Xerex Special sports car
from Roger Penske in America and after racing it himself he decided in 1964
to build his own sports car the McLaren M1A powered by an Oldsmobile engine.
Trojan took over the production of customer cars and at the end of 1965
McLaren took the decision to leave the Cooper F1 team and start his own
GP project, the rest, as they say, is history. After a sticky start finding
a suitable engine when he tried a converted Ford Indy V8 and then a Serenissima
V8 he bought one of the new BRM V12s and fitted to his new M5 chassis and
was immediately competitive.
The following year, 1968, he bought some Ford DFVs and fitted them to the
M7A, Denny Hulme joined and McLaren started winning GPs. At the same time
the legendary Bruce & Denny show totally dominated Can-Am racing for
the next few years and their cars won USAC races in America.
Tragically Bruce lost his life in a testing accident at Goodwood in 1970
but the team continued through the good years with Emerson Fittipaldi and
James Hunt but by the end of the seventies the team began to fade as ground
effect came in. Sponsors Marlboro pushed McLaren into joining together with
Ron Dennis of Project Four and McLaren International was formed. This shotgun
marriage worked better than anyone dared hope and from then on McLaren became
the team to beat as Alain Prost, Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna, Gerhard Berger,
Mikka Hakkinen and David Coulthard bought the team win after win.