Recently, in September this year, driver Daniel Ricciardo just won the championship in the Formula 1 (F1) Grand Prix Italia 2021 race for the McLaren team. Let’s look back at McLaren, the name that writes the history of racing.

McLaren is not only known as one of the most successful Formula 1 (F1) racing teams, but also a legendary monument in the field of super sports car production. Both on and off the track, McLaren has gradually conquered the hearts of enthusiasts.

Founder, racer, engineer Bruce McLaren (born 1937, in Auckland city, New Zealand) is a name not unfamiliar to speed enthusiasts. Bruce’s passion for machines and racing started with his family.

Portrait of Bruce McLaren – legendary racing driver and founder of the McLaren racing team
His father was an electrician, had a small repair shop for both cars and motorbikes – and was also very interested in the world of racing at that time. The apartment the family lives in is located right on the floor of the family’s repair workshop. From a young age, Bruce had the passion and qualities of a leader in sports competitions. During elementary school, he was captain of the rugby team.

At the age of 9, Bruce spent more than two years, almost paralyzed in a hospital bed and only using a wheelchair due to a congenital bone and joint disease that led to learning delays. Even after being discharged from the hospital, Bruce still had to walk on crutches, learn to walk again from the beginning, and was left with a limp that would last forever.

At the age of 9, Bruce McLaren had to lie in bed for more than two years, but still had an optimistic smile on his face

Furthermore, the pain remained persistent and dull at times throughout his life. But that did not make him give up on his fate, he still studied with tutors at home and continued going to school afterward. Later, Bruce McLaren chose the path of electrical engineering to continue on his educational path.
McLaren – legendary F1 racer
The passion for racing cars was truly awakened when Bruce’s father brought home an old Austin Ulster with many different parts. Young Bruce was allowed to join his father in repairing cars.

Once, Bruce recalled, “My career in electronics started at that time. I didn’t understand why my mother at that time could be so patient with my father and me. Even the dining table was full. car parts. My mother once said, “If you let your father and children eat old bread and drink plain water all the time, they wouldn’t even notice…”.

It took a year to complete the old Austin Ulster car, which was also my first car. Bruce was given the car by his father when he got his official driver’s license and began practicing his driving skills such as driving up hillsides or running around racing tracks.

Bruce and his father – Les McLaren with his first Ulster car

At the age of 15, he began participating in small races near where he lived and Bruce’s talent began to attract attention. At the age of 20, at the New Zealand Grand Prix, Bruce finished in 5th place and this was the opportunity to pave the way for his future career.

At the age of 21, he was favored to be supported by the “Driver to Europe” program sponsored by the International Grand Prix Association, which brought him and his friend Colin Beanland (as Bruce’s support technician) from his home country. Come to England and join the Cooper Cars racing team with the goal of building a solid racing team for Formula 2 racing (F2 – the racing cars participating in the tournament have horsepower engines only half that of the racing cars of the tournament). Formula 1 – F1).

Bruce McLaren with John Cooper in the moment of victory for the Cooper racing team – marking the youngest champion at that time at the 1959 U.S. Grand Prix​
At first in England, no one knew or paid attention to the young man from the UK’s Commonwealth of Nations. Only known as a “newbie” in the Cooper Cars team. However, everyone had to stand up in surprise at the 1958 German Grand Prix – an event that combined both F1 and F2 racing, Bruce finished in 5th place overall and finished first. specifically for the F2 racing category.

The young man that no one noticed – Bruce McLaren, proudly stood on the podium to receive the award alongside the driver who finished first in the F1 category, Tony Brooks of the Vanwall team.

From this historic moment, the name Bruce McLaren has been remembered in motorsport circles around the world. Just one year later, at the F1 world championship race, The U.S. Grand Prix 1959, taking place in Florida, 22-year-old Bruce McLaren won the overall first prize for team Cooper and himself.

Bruce was the youngest racer up to that time to achieve this achievement. Bruce continued to make a splash with major awards for Cooper at the Argentine GP (1960) and Monte Carlos GP (1962).

Don’t just stop being a racer
In 1963, Bruce McLaren founded a racing team named after himself with his friends – named “Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd”. Not only is it a racing team, but it also has the ambition to produce its own racing cars. At the same time, he remained a racing driver for Ford and won the championship at Le Mans 1966. Bruce officially left the Cooper and Ford racing teams in 1966 and focused on his own journey.

Bruce McLaren received his first victory as a driver of the McLaren Racing team at the 1968 Belgian GP (image: mclaren.com)​
The first victory with the McLaren racing team at GP Belgium 1968 resonated with victories at Le Mans 24 hours continuously from 1967 to 1970, winning all 11 races at the 1969 Can-Am tournament and 3rd place overall at the 1969 Can-Am race. Formula 1 (F1) world championship competition the same year.

With Bruce’s powerful achievements as a race car driver, people around him sometimes forget one more thing: Bruce is also a “family” engineer. To leave New Zealand and build a career on the track in England, he dropped out of studying electrical engineering at Auckland University College (now The University of Auckland).

However, this does not change my nature as an engineer. Before each race, Bruce has the habit of preparing his own list of details to check before starting.

2021 is a glorious year for the McLaren racing team. Image of racer Lando Norris (left) winning second prize and Daniel Ricciardo winning first prize (second right) at GP Italia 2021

When he had a racing team and car manufacturer, Bruce McLaren also showed himself to be a visionary business leader, laying the first bricks for the McLaren brand that the world knows today. On the track he is a brave racer, off the track he is a talented and passionate engineer with the desire to produce his own racing cars for his own team and the whole speed world.

Today, the spirit and value of Bruce McLaren’s legacy remains intact and is continued by young people with passion. Just recently, in September this year, driver Daniel Ricciardo just won the championship in the Italian F1 Grand Prix race for the McLaren team.

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