Bruce McLaren would have turned 80 this year, his amazing car constructing and racing legacy left behind is nothing short of outstanding. Silverstone Classic 2017 Festival will be a paying a tribute to the extraordinary driver. During his 12-year racing career, McLaren managed to win 4 Grand Prix races, an impressive achievement, however, not necessary seen as legendary, especially with Lewis Hamilton having won his 5th one just last week. What made McLaren so special are a combination of the many things that he did – he won his first GP race in 1959 at the age of 22, making him the youngest driver ever to have won the race. This victory was followed by many others, including Le Mans in 1966 and two Cam-Am championship titles in 1967 and 1969. As well as that, he was also an incredible car constructor, after coming up with superb prototypes, McLaren would then test them out himself. He finally raced in his first fully completed, McLaren name bearing, model in Monaco race, in 1966. His last GP win came in 1968, when he won the Belgian Grand Prix in his McLaren M7A.
Bruce McLaren died at a very young age of 32, after a failed test drive of his Can-Am McLaren at Goodwood Circuit in the summer of 1970. The car was destabilised when rear bodywork flew off and McLaren hit a marshal’s post. McLaren’s only child, Amanda McLaren, who was 4 years old when he died, is now the ambassador of the McLaren brand and will be attending Silverstone to pay tribute to her father. She will also be leading the Mclaren parade on Sunday, 30th of July. It was initially imagined that 80 McLaren cars will be attending the event to represent Bruce McLaren’s ‘could have been age’, however, with so many new models now in existence, including a couple of GT road cars, 120 motors were registered, they will all be displayed during Silverstone Classic 2017 Festival throughout the last weekend of July.
Bruce McLaren, even though now more famously known as a brand, should never be forgotten to have been an incredible racer and engineer. In his 1964 book From the Cockpit, he referred to the death of his teammate, Timmy Mayer and wrote: “The news that he had died instantly was a terrible shock to all of us, but who is to say that he had not seen more, done more and learned more in his few years than many people do in a lifetime? To do something well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy. It would be a waste of life to do nothing with one’s ability, for I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.” Today this quote is very much referenced to his own death instead.
Attend Silverstone Classic Festival on the 28th, 29th and 30th of July to see the amazing McLaren display and many more stunning motors
Image by Lothar Spurzem [CC BY-SA 2.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons