A life-size statue of Bruce McLaren has been unveiled at the headquarters of the famous team that he founded to mark the 50th anniversary his untimely death. His daughter Amanda took part in a private ceremony, and fifty candles were lit alongside a McLaren M8D, a sister car to the one he was driving on the fateful day of June 2, 1970.
He had considerable success during his early racing career, and the New Zealand International Grand Prix Organisation choose him as the first recipient of their ‘Driver to Europe’ scheme, which saw him move to England to race for the famous Cooper team. His early successes continued for more than 50 years with wins in Formula 1, including the first for his own McLaren team at Spa in 1968. He went on to finish third in the Drivers’ Championship in 1969. He also collected three Indianapolis 500 wins, five successive Can-Am championships, and a win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
Bruce McLaren was killed at Goodwood, testing the McLaren M8D, when the rear bodywork became detached at speed. He had no chance to overcome the sudden loss of aerodynamic downforce causing the car to leave the track and hit a marshal’s post. He was just 32 years old, and he died instantly. The M8D went on to dominate the Can-Am season that year, which began just days after the crash.
The team that Bruce McLaren created in 1963, eventually evolved into the McLaren Group, and has become one the most dominant names in Formula One history. McLaren have been Formula One Constructors’ Champions on eight occasions, and their drivers have won twelve World Championships. Since his death, McLaren cars have won a total of 182 Grand Prix, three Indianapolis 500s, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Tributes have been paid across the world, and all his own achievements and outstanding cars that have borne his name, and those that will continue to do so, will stand as his legacy.