McLaren Heritage


You have to hand it to McLaren. For close to forty years they’ve had real roots in Motor Racing, and have produced not only some of the most successful, but some of the most beautiful racing cars out there.

And never was their sporting and aesthetic triumphs more elegantly displayed than at last weekend’s Autosport International show at the NEC.

We’ve been trying to get to the bottom of just who designed what was by far the most spectacularly successful stand at this year’s show, but you can rest assured that the same exactitude of purpose and passion for stylish execution that is in-bred into Mclaren’s cars was encoded equally into the show space.

It featured cars from the sweep of Mclaren’s heritage, from the DFV Cosworth powered racing cars from the seventies (including Emerson Fitipaldi’s 1974 winning beauty, through to the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hour-winning McLaren F1 GTR and the 1970 McLaren M8D, which crushed all opposition in the North American Can-Am Cup series. The MP4 12C road car was there (looking very nice in the carbon fibre) along with it’s spectacularly clever chassis.

The F1 heritage, though, is the focus, and for me the highlight was always going to be the achingly beautiuful, ridiculously powerful and spine tinglingly historic Mp4/4, the very one piloted by Ayrton Senna in the 1988 season he and team mate Alain Prost dominated.

The whole issue was augmented by brilliant video and graphic elements and a genius piece of sound design in which the noise of a lapping F1 car was pumped out in the round by sequentially programmed speakers.

When you delve into the glory of this car you can’t help but lay prone in admiration for the people involved in producing and piloting a machine like this. Bravo to everyone at McLaren.

Stay tuned this week for a selection of dispatches from the weekend’s reveries.