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Bruce McLaren

The racing team started by New Zealander Bruce McLaren has been one of the most successful in Formula One history, with McLaren cars and drivers winning more F1 world championships than any other team in the history of the sport. Team McLaren has dominated on the Grand Prix circuit as well as in CamAm events, and has won multiple Indianapolis 500 races. But the man behind the McLaren team did not live long enough to enjoy what he created.

Bruce McLaren

Born in Auckland 30 June 1937, Bruce McLaren developed his passion for racing early in life. His parents owned a service station and young Bruce spent many hours in and around the workshop, according to

The sound of engines being tested and the smell of grease and petrol would have been constantly invading his senses. His love of speed, as family legend recalls, was evident early on when Bruce, on his trike, would terrorise the working mechanics. 

McLaren’s father was a motor racing enthusiast, and the two spent hours tinkering with engines and restoring cars. Said McLaren, “How Mum put up with Dad and me with her kitchen table covered in bits and pieces of the engine during meals I will never know. She used to say ‘If I gave them dry bread and water they wouldn’t have noticed.’”

Having learned to drive in his parents’ large backyard, McLaren entered his first race at 14. By 20 he qualified for his first New Zealand International Grand Prix. At 22 he became the youngest ever driver to win the American Grand Prix. From

McLaren would remain in the top 10 drivers in the world for the next 10 years. His popularity never dimmed, nor his enthusiasm. The only thing that changed was his ever-increasing influence over the world of motor racing. 

In 1963 Bruce McLaren founded the racing team that bears his name. Just seven years later, on 2 June 1970, McLaren died after crashing his car during a test run. Only 32 at the time of his death, Bruce McLaren’s years were short but his life continues to be measured by his many achievements as a driver, engineer, inventor and entrepreneur – and not in years alone.

Bruce McLaren: F1 King

Bruce McLaren (NZ History)

"Bruce measured life in achievement. A Grand Prix winning racing driver, pioneering race car designer and the founder of the most successful Formula 1 team in history, he achieved an astonishing amount in his tragically short 32 years."

~McLaren Automotive

The 'untold' story of Kiwi motorsport ace Bruce McLaren

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