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The Impressive and Tragic History of McLaren

Supercar enthusiasts are fond of the name McLaren, but chances are if you don’t pay attention to these unobtainable exotics, the name has only become recently familiar to you. While the brand has only become popular with the general public within the past few decades, the history of McLaren runs deep. Before the name was a supercar manufacturer, it was simply one man with a dream, and that dream produced some of the most unique cars in the world.

Once upon a time, there was a man

15-year-old Bruce McLaren built his first race car by modifying an Austin Ulster — even more impressively, he did this completely on his own. The year was 1953, and young Bruce had a vision that he wasn’t willing to let slip away. Years later, he won the Formula 1 Grand Prix, and at 22 years old, that made him the youngest race car driver to win the title ever.

Bruce McLaren wasn’t just satisfied with driving race cars; he wanted to keep building. That’s why in 1963, he set out on a new journey to start his own racing team. McLaren Motor Racing was born.

McLaren 720S Spider is a convertible supercar with a 4.0-liter twin turbo V8 and a 200+ mph top speed.
McLaren 720S Spider | McLaren

McLaren Motor Racing

McLaren Motor Racing is the root of the McLaren car manufacturer, but it is the deep-rooted history that many drivers aren’t as familiar with. Perhaps the ancestry of performance-oriented cars is what makes McLaren such an exquisite supercar manufacturer. But before they built and designed street-legal production cars, they were nothing more than a racing team.

And a great racing team, at that. McLaren Motor Racing quickly established a name for itself as a force to be reckoned with, and it still is to this day. Renowned race car drivers for the team like Ayrton Senna go down in history as some of the best drivers in Formula 1 racing, ever. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because McLaren valued their racing heritage and team so much they named the McLaren Senna after him.

McLaren 720S Spider is a convertible supercar with a 4.0-liter twin turbo V8 and a 200+ mph top speed.
McLaren 720S Spider | McLaren

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Tragedy strikes

Bruce McLaren wanted to do more than race, and he had an idea of making street-legal performance cars that other automotive enthusiasts could drive and enjoy. Before the manufacturing company could launch, Bruce died in a tragic accident while testing a new race car on the Goodwood Circut in England. In 1980 a man named Ron Dennis took over McLaren Motor Racing and was able to finish out what Bruce McLaren set out to do all those years ago.

Ron Dennis shared the same passion for racing and performance that Bruce McLaren did, and was not only able to keep the McLaren name at the top of its game in the racing world, but he also set out to make it a more recognizable name and continued Bruce’s work creating a business for street-legal McLaren cars.

2019 McLaren Senna | McLaren

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Just like the McLaren name took the racing world by storm, it has quickly become the dream car brand of many. For cars that are designed to do more than just turn heads, these impressive pieces of machinery offer just as much performance as they do artistic design, and along with their continued racing endeavors, it is easy to see why so many people love McLaren.