Who Was Bruce McLaren?

Bruce McLaren in racecar

Famed New Zealand racing driver, Bruce McLaren, was many things: an engineer, an aesthete, a marketer, racecar driver, and founder of McLaren. Bruce McLaren’s death at the age of 32 may have cut his life tragically short, but it could be argued that he experienced several lifetimes’ worth of adventures in the few decades he had. Learn more about Bruce McLaren with McLaren Palm Beach, learn who currently owns McLaren, and then contact us to experience Bruce McLaren’s legacy in West Palm Beach. 

Early Life

Racing driver, Bruce McLaren, was born in Auckland, New Zealand on August 30th, 1937. His mother and father, Les and Ruth McLaren, ran a service station in Remuera, and little Bruce grew up surrounded by cars and mechanics. Before settling on auto service, his father had been an aspiring motorcycle racer, but after an injury, Les settled for local club circuits. From an early age, Bruce McLaren was immersed in and developed a passion for racing and automotive anatomy. 

Racing Career 

In 1952, Bruce McLaren entered his first racing competition at the age of 14. By the mid-50s he was racing a Formula Two Cooper-Climax on the Cooper team. After customizing his vehicle himself, he won runner-up in the New Zealand National Champion Series. Then, in 1958, he snagged the New Zealand Grand Prix. From there, he was the natural pick to represent New Zealand, and the New Zealand Grand Prix committee sent him to race globally with F1 drivers at the German Grand Prix. He astonished the Motor Racing Fraternity by being the first F2 to join the ranks of the greatest drivers in the world, coming in 5th overall. From there, he went on to win a Grand Prix in Monaco in 1962, and his career exponentially blossomed. 

The Founding of McLaren 

After much success on the track racing for the Cooper Team, Bruce McLaren founded Bruce McLaren Racing LTD in 1963 and began producing his own F1 racecars. In 1965, he resigned from the Cooper Team and formed an F1 McLaren racing team. In 1968, he, himself, won the McLaren F1 team’s first Grand Prix while racing on the Spa in Belgium. 

While racing driver, Bruce McLaren, has left an indelible mark on racecar history, Wellington likely know him better for his genius as an automotive designer. McLaren’s legacy has outlasted him by decades thanks to the design platforms, branding, and aesthetic tropes he first envisioned. His innovations in increasing downforce through various air uptake innovations are, to this day, foundational to the ethos of supercar design.

Bruce McLaren’s Untimely Death 

How did Bruce McLaren die? On June 2nd, 1970, while testing out a new McLaren M8D design on England’s Goodwood Circuit, the rear bodywork detached from the vehicle at a high speed, sending the car adrift. He crashed into a flag station and was killed instantly, his life taken at 32 by the very passion that fueled and defined it. 

Experience Bruce McLaren’s Legacy in Action 

Now that you know about the illustrious history of racing driver, Bruce McLaren, experience his vision perfected in the 21st century by calling McLaren Palm Beach. Our number is 855-696-2527. We’ll take you on a tour of what McLaren’s legacy means today. While you’re here, take a moment to explore our other informative reads about all things McLaren!

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