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McLaren celebrates 50 years

2 September 2013

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.

Following the outstanding acclaim that greeted the arrival of the P1TM, McLaren Automotive is already working busily to extend the line-up, and McLaren Racing's exciting technical partnership with Japanese manufacturer Honda, which hits the track in 2015, promises a return to the greatness achieved during a previous link-up, which won 44 grands prix and eight world titles in the 1980s and '90s.

Despite the broadening of the group's business interests, McLaren's goal remains singular. It exists to win – and aims to do so in every endeavour it undertakes. Less a corporate slogan and more a matter of personal pride, McLaren's ethos cuts deep into the organisation, creating a workforce unified by the same passion – it's the quality that ensures McLaren remains such a relentless force in everything it does.

“McLaren started as the dream of one man, and it's since grown to encompass the hopes and dreams of more than 2000 men and women, who work as tirelessly as Bruce McLaren himself once did to ensure that everything we do reflects well when compared with everything we've ever achieved,” current McLaren Group chairman, Ron Dennis, said.

“Our 50th anniversary provides an opportunity for every single McLaren employee to realise that he or she is an utterly crucial part of an organisation with a history and a culture that really mean something.

“Call it McLaren's DNA, if you like. Call it McLaren's brand continuity, if you prefer. Call it McLaren's corporate culture, if you will. Call it McLaren's undiminished hunger to win in everything we do, and you'd probably be getting closest to what I mean, what I think, and what I feel.”


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