McLaren Goes Back To the Beginning For Its 50th Anniversary: Video Photo:
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Peter Anderson | Feb, 04 2013 | 0 Comments

McLaren's launch of this year's F1 challenger, the MP4-28, was also an opportunity for the racing team to kick off its 50th anniversary celebrations.

As part of the launch, the short film Courage by Swedish documentary and commercial director Marcus Soderlund - a tribute to Kiwi Bruce McLaren who began the McLaren story - was produced for the milestone.

The first of a trilogy of videos, it features a man in classic racing overalls walking along the Goodwood track where the Kiwi died testing one of his own cars.

The driver comes across the first of the trail of wreckage caused by his fatal crash while a voiceover ruminates on the value of courage and a short life filled with achievements.

Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd was formed in 1963 while the man himself still raced for Cooper. He was the youngest man at the time to have won a Formula 1 race - the 1959 US Grand Prix, aged 22.

McLaren left Cooper in 1965 and announced he would enter the 1966 F1 World Championship with his own team, also entering Le Mans during that "off" year.

He won the 1965 Le Mans race in a GT40 alongside Chris Amon.

The new F1 team didn't take long to become a winning outfit, with McLaren taking his own car to the win in the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa. That same year, he and compatriot Denny Hulme each won a non-championship race.

As was the way in the Sixties, McLaren raced in several series, his team crushing the opposition in the 1967, 1968 and 1969 Can-Am series.

Sadly, the New Zealander was killed in June 1970. He was testing the M8D at Goodwood when the signature orange bodywork came adrift.

He spun off and hit a grass bank, killing him instantly at the tender age of 32.

Bruce's team lived on, of course, going on to become one of the most successful racing team in Formula 1, first under the hand of Teddy Mayer.

Mayer led the team to championships in 1974 and 1976 (as well as Indy 500 wins in 72, 74 and 76) before the team merged with former McLaren mechanic Ron Dennis' Project Four Racing.

The merger gave the cars their iconic naming scheme - MP4, applied to both race and road cars.

Under Dennis, the team went on to further glory with Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton.

Dennis also took the cars from the race track to the road, with the Gordon Murray-designed McLaren F1, the Mercedes-Benz SLR and now the MP4-12C and forthcoming P1.

The team will continue celebrating its milestone with more events and two more films. The film can be watched at the McLaren site or on YouTube (video also embedded below and above).

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