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What Makes A McLaren?

Posted by Chris Clark in Specialist Cars on 20th May 2016

About Chris Clark

Chris is a writer, a keen fencer and in his spare time a turbo-charged petrol head who enjoys track days, car shows and reading about cars he'll probably never own. He also drove a reasonably priced car around the Top Gear test track in a respectable 1:49.0

McLaren might be the newest specialist car to grace our roads but that doesn’t mean the brands has no pedigree. In fact, this car borrows hugely from the incredible dynamism of its Formula One cousin, thereby benefiting from year after year of top of the line innovation.

From the impressive motoring genius of Bruce McLaren, to the brands dominance in the Can-Am Series, we track the development of this incredible specialist car, and look at how McLaren have come to be among the most desirable cars on the road.

What Makes A McLaren Infographic

What Makes A McLaren Transcript

As McLaren continue to impress with the launch of further Sports Series models, we’ve taking the chance to admire and celebrate this incredible high performance specialist car.



Bruce McLaren

·         Born in Auckland, New Zealand

·         His parents, Les and Ruth McLaren, owned a service station and workshop

·         Bruce spent all of his free hours hanging around the workshop and developed his passion during his formative years.

·         Les McLaren restored an aging Austin 7 Ulster, which 14-year-old Bruce used in 1952 when he entered his first competition, a hillclimb.

·         McLaren joined the Cooper factory F1 team alongside Jack Brabham in 1959 and won the 1959 United States Grand Prix at age 22 years 104 days, becoming the youngest ever GP winner.

·         In 1964 Bruce and his small team built the first true McLaren sports car – the M1A – which became a top contender in sports car racing both in Europe and America.  After proving its credentials the orders rolled in and 24 examples were built.

·         McLaren left Cooper at the end of 1965, and announced his own GP racing team, with co-driver and fellow Kiwi Chris Amon.

·         Bruce McLaren died (aged 32) when his Can-Am car crashed on the Lavant straight just before Woodcote corner at Goodwood Circuit in England on 2 June 1970.


Everything for a reason:

Every curve and every component of our cars is considered in microscopic detail. Then perfectly engineered to enhance the car’s performance, handling and the exhilaration you feel when you drive one.

Obsessed about weight

From the F1 to the 650S to the McLaren P1™, every gram is considered and every component is meticulously designed to deliver the maximum performance at the minimum weight.[iii]

Optimised Design

Beauty is inherent in an optimised design. As a racing company, the styling and visual language of our cars is inspired by our Formula 1 racing innovations and advanced aerodynamics.[iv]

QUOTE: ‘Racing tends to breed the best of the innovations and ideas. Since we’re a racing company, a lot of the inspiration for our cars comes from Formula 1’ – Frank Stephenson, McLaren Design Director.


Can Am Series

·         McLaren’s design flair and ingenuity were graphically demonstrated in powerful sports car racing. Just as the Can-Am began to become very popular with fans in Canada and the U.S., the new McLaren cars finished second twice, and third twice, in six races.

·         The McLaren 650S has a top speed of 207mph, can accelerate from 0-60 in under three seconds.


·         One of the most successful teams in Formula One history, having won 182 races, 12 drivers’ championships and eight constructors’ championships.

·         Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, and Ayrton Senna took between them seven drivers’ championships and McLaren six constructors’ championships.

·         The combination of Prost and Senna was particularly dominant—together they won all but one race in 1988

·         2009 – McLaren FL1 was sold at auction for a record price of £2.53 million

What makes a McLaren special?

From a background in Formula One to developing innovative vehicles that use the lightest materials, McLaren has made its name in a very short time in the specialist car sector. These high-performing and uniquely beautiful cars are at the pinnacle of British automotive excellence.

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What Makes A McLaren

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