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McLaren celebrates 50 years

Half a century ago, one of motorsport's biggest names was brought into the world in a small, cramped workshop in southern England...
One of F1's biggest names celebrates a notable milestone today (2 September) as McLaren reaches the ripe old age of 50.

Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Limited was formally incorporated on 2 September 1963, when the 26-year old New Zealander mustered together a small crew of committed individuals to design, build and race cars bearing his own name, operating from a small, cramped workshop in New Malden, Surrey.

From that tiny base, the team migrated through various premises in Colnbrook and Woking, before settling upon its current site at the McLaren Technology Centre, home to all of the team's businesses, and workplace to more than 2000 people.

For any organisation, that's quite an incredible transformation. Yet the company's sporting successes have equally blossomed beyond measure since those early days.

Bruce McLaren took his team into F1 at the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix – and, since that day, no team in F1 has scored more victories than McLaren's 182. Elsewhere, the team dominated the iconic North American Can-Am sports car series, taking 43 wins between 1967 and 1972, won the Indy 500 three times between '72 and '76, and took the Le Mans 24 Hours on its first attempt, in 1995.

The team's great champions – Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton – are all household names and legends of motorsport, while McLaren's long-lasting relationships with some of the world best-known brands have also set new standards in the world of commercial and sporting partnerships.

A lengthy list of blue-riband partners includes the race team's current title partner, Vodafone, global brands such as ExxonMobil, Diageo, GlaxoSmithKline, Santander, SAP and the Hilton Group, and world-class consumer brands such as TAG Heuer and Hugo Boss, both of whom have partnered McLaren for more than half its existence – a phenomenal achievement.

The organisation's current scope is particularly broad, having grown from a humble racing outfit to encompass McLaren Electronic Systems, which supplies technologies to every team in F1, NASCAR and Indycar, and McLaren Applied Technologies, which applies expertise to a wide range of industries from elite sport and healthcare to energy and product design.

In 1993, the road car division, McLaren Automotive, launched arguably the purest and most focused supercar in history, the F1, perfectly honouring Bruce's legacy. Even 20 years on, it is still regarded by many as the greatest supercar of all time. More recently, it has successfully launched both the ground-breaking 12C and 12C Spider high-performance sports cars and the superlative McLaren P1TM – Woking's newest and most exciting supercar.

However, the 50th anniversary is merely the starting-point for even more ambitious growth, as the company increasingly establishes itself as one of the world's most dynamic high-technology companies.

Tagged as: Mclaren , Ron Dennis , 50

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September 02, 2013 11:54 AM

The full interview with Dennis is on GPtoday and Pitpass it makes for quite interesting reading. "I know that there are a number of people within McLaren who remain convinced that Mika was the quickest driver we've ever had - and that's saying something." That was one of the interesting bits. "even when you run a team with absolute driver equality, which I'm proud to say we've always done" And that was complete boll**ks, if anyone believes that I have some magic beans to sell them! But happy 50th McLaren, F1 wouldn't be the same without you.


September 02, 2013 6:36 PM

Quite a milestone to reach. I wonder if Ron Dennis imagined his company would be where it is now when he started his 1st company, Rondel Racing with Neil Trundle! in the early 70's

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