What is the History of McLaren? – How this Greatness Arose

McLaren in California

What is the history of McLaren?

The Speedtail is the fastest McLaren ever, capable of a top speed of more than 250 mph.

In fact, the Speedtail is the brand’s first-ever Hyper-GT and is considered its most aerodynamically efficient car ever. Part of what makes this possible is there is uninterrupted flow of air from nose to tail. It offers heart-pumping performance and all out luxury. And the 2020 McLaren Speedtail is priced accordingly – about $2 million.

The exterior is streamlined and stylish and dare we say futuristic. It boasts a hybrid powertrain that produces an incredible 1035 horsepower. However, only 106 of these cars will be produced, all of which have been purchased.

Looking at the other fastest McLarens, after the Speedtail you have the F1. It’s an automotive legend that can reach up to 240.1 mph, a record it set back in the 1990s. It was the fastest production car in the world at the time it was produced and is considered one of the greatest cars in history. Then there is the McLaren F1 LM, capable of hitting 225 mph. It’s a track edition of the F1, built to honor the five McLaren F1 GTRs that competed in the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans race and finished in first, third, fourth, fifth, and thirteenth places overall.

And there are even more McLaren super cars that deserve mentioning in another blog. Although McLaren is based in the United Kingdom, its roots go back to Auckland, New Zealand, which is the birthplace of namesake/founder Bruce McLaren.

In 1963, the famed racer created Bruce McLaren Motor Racing. He was only 26 years old and had already made his name as the winner of the Canadian-American Challenge Cup (Can-Am) series. Sadly, he died in a crash of one of the company’s prototypes at England’s Goodwood Circuit in 1970. Today, the company that bears his name continues to honor him by creating some of the world’s most innovative autos.

Here is a brief timeline from History.com and other sources looking at some of the highlights McLaren’s life and the company that was named after him.

1952. McLaren enters his first speed competition in New Zealand -driving a restored Austin 7 Ulster in a hill climb. He is only 14 years old and his racing career, fostered by his auto mechanic father, starts at the end of a long childhood illness. 

1959. McLaren joins his mentor, Grand Prix driver Jack Brabham, on the Cooper racing team. That December, at the age of 22, he became the youngest-ever winner of a Formula One race, capturing the U.S. Grand Prix at Sebring. He is only 22.

1962.He wins the Monaco Grand Prix, thus succeeding Brabham as Cooper’s top driver. 

1963. McLaren creates Bruce McLaren Motor Racing. The Formula 1 team will go on to win eight constructors’ world championships and 12 drivers’ world championships while eventually morphing into McLaren Automotive.

1970. The 32-year-old race car driver dies in a crash while testing an experimental car of his own design – the Can-Am – at a track in Goodwood Circuit, in England, on June 2.  Despite McLaren’s death, the McLaren racing team continues to see success in the Cam-Am series, F1 and Indianapolis 500 wins throughout the 1970s. 

1981.  The McLaren racing team merges with Ron Dennis’ Project 4 Racing team. At the same time, McLaren became the first car company to introduce a complete carbon fiber racing monocoque. Designer John Barnard also introduced the first semi-automatic gearbox. 

1992. McLaren Cars, rooted in the racing team that McLaren founded, produces its first road car, the F1. The F1 is regarded as one of the all-time great road cars thanks to its lighter and more streamlined structure – and its BMW S70/2 V12 engine. At the time it is the world’s fastest production car – with a top speed of 240.1 mph. 

2003. The SLR McLaren is launched by Mercedes. It’s a grand tourer developed by the German automaker and McLaren together. It accelerates from zero to 60 mph in as little as 3.3 seconds and can reach a top speed of 200 mph. 

2010. McLaren Cars relaunches as McLaren Automotive.

2011. McLaren GT is launched as the GT racing arm of  McLaren Automotive. The concept is to build and support all McLaren track and GT race activities. The division is currently responsible for the design, development and production of the 720S GT3 and the 570S GT4. The same year McLaren Automotive introduces the 12C, the first road car wholly developed and built by McLaren since the F1.

2013. Production begins on a limited-run hybrid supercar called the P1, which generates a combined 903 hp from its twin-turbo V-8 engine and electric motor and can reach a top speed of 217 mph. 

2015. A McLaren F1 sells at auction for $13.75 million, one of the most expensive automobiles ever.

According to Car & Driver, McLaren company became great by putting its vast knowledge garnered from years of F1 racing to work. McLaren now builds high-performance road cars that are capable of putting other big name sports cars to shame, according to the magazine.  

And so far, McLaren is one of the few remaining luxury automakers that hasn’t produced an SUV. Instead, the company creates only exotic sports cars and hypercars despite market pressure to do otherwise.  

Check out our McLaren inventory today.

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