MCLAREN

By Roger DONALDSON

FB PICTURES LIMITED - as PROD

Documentary - Completed 2016

This is the story of Bruce McLaren, the New Zealander who founded the McLaren Motor Racing team and who showed that a man humble birth and origins could take on the elite world of Motor Racing and win.

    • Year of production
    • 2016
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • NEW ZEALAND
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH
    • Budget
    • 3 - 5 M$
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Roger DONALDSON
    • Producer(s)
    • Matthew METCALFE (General Film Corporation), Fraser BROWN (FB Pictures)
    • Synopsis
    • They are the second oldest active F1 racing team after Ferrari. The name McLaren is synonymous with motor racing excellence and stands today as symbol for British automotive superiority, whether it's F1 or Super Cars. Yet what is less known is that McLaren Motor Racing was not the creation of an Englishman, but the creation of an ambitious young man from the other side of the world, who followed his dream and found triumphs, tragedies and ultimately a form of immortality.

      This is the story of Bruce McLaren, the New Zealander who founded the McLaren Motor Racing team and who showed that a humble Antipodean could take on the elite world of Motor Racing and win. It follows Bruce's early ambitions to be a successful sportsman, only to see these dashed by a debilitating disease at age 9, which left him immobile in a brace for 2 years. But that event forged him. To his natural competitive nature he now added a love of learning developed over those two years on his back and once out of hospital he was drawn to motor racing through his father. He soon began experimenting with his first car. At 13 he was racing his modified Ulster around his parents' back yard, at 18 he was cleaning up on the NZ Grand Prix circuit and by his early 20s he was racing in Europe for Cooper Cars behind his hero and mentor, the Australian F1 world champion, Jack Brabham. Bruce's rise came at a time when greats like Sterling Moss were at their best.

      But even though he was 2nd coverall in the 1960 F1 world Driver’s Championship, Bruce was already turning his agile and practical mind towards developing his own cars and own philosophy. The beginnings of the McLaren DNA were forming.

      That started proper in 1963 when McLaren Motor Racing was formed. While early tragedies and obstacles confronted the irrepressible McLaren and his fledgling company, by the late 1960s McLaren Racing was becoming a major force in world motor racing. Pairing with fellow Kiwi and 1967 F1 drivers champion Denny Hulme, he and Bruce dominated the lucrative and glitzy CanAm series in North America where Bruce's design flair came to the fore. Everything they learned in CanAm then fed back into F1. By 1968, McLaren had already achieved a 2nd in the constructor’s and Driver’s Championship. With Bruce and Denny both racing well it seemed as if Bruce was poised to be one of the first driver-owners of a team to win the F1 Constructor’s Championship, a feat only achieved by one other: his mentor Brabham.
      But tragedy strikes in 1970 when Bruce is killed: ironically not in a race but testing a new CanAm car. What follows is a real test of the lieutenants and philosophy Bruce put in place. It finally resolves with the team winning the F1 Driver’s and Constructor’s championship in 1974.
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