- Category : Sports-Race-Cars
- Type : GE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Planning 3
New Zealand born race-car champion in Canada-America 1967 and 1969; winner of the first U.S. Grand Prix, 1959; winner of the 1966 Le Mans 24-Hours (with Amon); winner of the 1967 Sebring 12 Hours (with Andretti).
Motor Racing was in McLaren’s blood. His dad drove petrol tankers before opening a Service Station in Remuera in late 1936, just before Bruce, his second child, was born. He had two sisters. As a kid he learned how to broadside around shop corners on two wheels of his tricycle, becoming a pest such as borrowing mechanics spanners just when they needed them to repair his "racing machine."
In 1946, Bruce was diagnosed with a hip joint problem, Perthes Disease, that had originated from a fall. He left school and spent two years in the Wilson Home in Takapuna on a Bradford Frame until 1949 when he was allowed to go home on crutches. He started correspondence school with a tutor and then in 1951 had his first year at Seddon Technical Memorial College with an Engineering Course.
His dad had always shown great skill in his motorcycle racing days and now was becoming very interested in Motor Car Racing. When he arrived at the garage one day with a truck full of boxes of spare parts and towing the "Austin Ulster," Bruce’s motor racing career began. His mum had to put up with dad and Bruce at her kitchen table covered in bits and pieces of the engine during meals.
He got his driver’s license at 15 and he carved out figure eights around the fruit trees in the back yard, his early and wonderful days of local hill climbs - Gymkhana’s - Sprint meetings. It was a great day when he was allowed to race his dad’s Austin Healey at Ardmore, then graduating to a Bob Tail Cooper. He was sponsored by racer Jack Brabham when he was selected as "Driver to Europe" by NZIGP Association. His next two years at University studies were put on hold and a new life started. Bruce left NZ on 3/15/1958 for England with his good friend and mechanic Colin Beanland and his first year driving for John Cooper of Cooper Cars as his "new boy." He returned to Auckland for Christmas and Motor Racing as No. 2 for Coopers - then back to England and Europe, coming home again late 1959 for another season of Motor Racing and catching up with the family.
By then, Bruce was dating Patricia Broad whom he had met at his sister's house and then again at a dance: they became engaged and were married on 12/09/1961. Their daughter Amanda was born on 11/20/1965. Needing a bigger house, they bought just what they needed close to his happy childhood home where he expected to settle when his race tour days were done.
Motor racing, with all its adventures and dangers, had become his life. He returned to New Zealand as often as he could to catch up all the family. He followed his dad’s example by investing in a Service Station at Te Atutu, a western suburb of Auckland - calling it Bruce McLaren Motors.
His last trip to Auckland was during the 1968 season. His folks had moved to Te Atatu South - so his dad could keep an eye on Bruce’s business and be close to his fishing grounds - he was an expert surf caster for beach fishing. Bruce saw his mom and dad on a visit to England in mid-1969 and was so very pleased to be able to make it a special trip for them in love and appreciation for their support.
He was not able to retire to his dream home with Patty. Bruce Leslie McLaren died at age 32 on 6/02/1970 while testing a Can Am Car at Goodwood. He was honored in West Auckland by having schools and memorials named after him and was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall Of Fame in 1991 and the New Zealand
Hall of Fame
"To do something well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy. It would be a waste of life to do nothing with ones ability, for I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone." (Bruce McLaren, August 30, 1937 - June 2, 1970).