PARIS | Fifty years after the death of its founder Bruce McLaren’s eponymous brand, which has become one of the most famous of motor racing, going through a difficult time due to the pandemic of sars coronavirus.
On 2 June 1970 at the circuit de Goodwood (Great Britain), the new zealand driver lost control of his monster “CanAm” that is disintegrating against a cabin of commissioners disused.
At 32 years old, disappeared one who, in the past a simple mechanic arrived penniless from his native country to one of the drivers of the most talented of his time, is also the founder of a racing team, today the most successful in F1 behind Ferrari.
Tuesday, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of his disappearance, his daughter Amanda, born in 1965, has inaugurated a statue of his father at the siege state of the art McLaren in Woking, in the suburbs of London. Fifty candles were arranged around a McLaren M8D, the model he was driving the day of his death.
“The 2 June is every year a day of emotion for us and it is especially true this year. Know that Dad is watching McLaren at the top is very moving and it would have been incredibly proud of the success encountered in his name”, she said.
Winner of four Grands Prix of F1, the first in 1959, the last in 1968 with a car bearing his name, he won the 24 Hours of le Mans in 1966 at the wheel of a Ford, in controversial circumstances recently brought to the screen in the blockbuster film “Le Mans 66”.
In North America, unbeatable in the CanAm series, now defunct, the McLaren won three times in the Indianapolis 500, the first time in 1974.
Because the associates of Bruce pursue the adventure after his death. With success, since in 1974, Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi became F1 world champion with McLaren before a new title in 1976 with the British James Hunt.
Following the difficult years leading to the arrival of a new owner, Ron Dennis. It straightens the bar, wins a new title in 1984 with Niki Lauda and then a whole series with Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna (1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991).
A McLaren won the 24 Hours of le Mans in 1995, before the other two titles in F1 with Mika Häkkinen (1998 and 1999).
It is also driving a car of the british team that Lewis Hamilton won his first world crown in 2008.
Following a long lean period, punctuated by the departure of Ron Dennis and the arrival of the American Zak Brown, who returns to McLaren to 4th place in the world championship of constructors in 2019.
“Today, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the death of Bruce McLaren, we remember that he has created. Bruce was a competitor, an innovator and a leader, and all at McLaren are doing their best every day to follow his example”, pointed out Zak Brown on Tuesday.
A symbol of his commitment to the heritage of the brand, he also did come back this year, for the first time since 1979, in the championship of america Indycar to which include the Indianapolis 500.
But the pandemic of sars coronavirus is coming to thwart these plans. In addition to the race cars, McLaren also manufactures sports cars of prestige, a way in which was involved with Bruce McLaren shortly before his death.
This activity is now hit by the slump in the global automotive market, while the revenues of the F1 racing team are seriously diminished by the cancellation or the postponement until now of all the events of the world Championship 2020.
Just after the announcement, with drums and trumpets of the arrival of the australian driver Daniel Ricciardo in 2021, McLaren was forced to present a severe plan to save money with the elimination of 1,200 jobs, a quarter of its workforce, including approximately 70 in F1.
In this difficult context, the new lowering the last week of the expenditure ceiling of the stables from next year, however, will mitigate the shock, leaving McLaren in the hope of finding his place alongside the other great names of the sport car that are Ferrari and Mercedes.