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Bruce’s first for McLaren

Fifty years ago – on Saturday, January 11, 1964 – Bruce McLaren not only won his home Grand Prix at Pukekohe, near Auckland, New Zealand, but also opened the single-seater account for his brand new team – Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd.  Driving his creatively-engineered lightweight Cooper-Climax, Bruce recovered tenaciously from a slowish start, passed Jack Brabham to take the lead and then parlayed a late-race shower into the victory margin he needed.  To commemorate this historic win, I’ve voiced-over a hithertoo silent piece of footage from the race:

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10 thoughts on “Bruce’s first for McLaren

  1. I was there, 12 years old….. As I was just past the hairpin where Jack crashed (this was a tight left hander at the end of the pit straight, not the even tighter right hander at the end of the main street) I didn’t see the start of the accident but sure remember seeing Jack coming to a halt. As was the case at other times during his career, Jack tried to drive around the outside of a car as he entered the corner. Of course, Bruce was my idol so I really appreciated his victory! Incidentally Jack had another issue with a lapped driver putting him off track there, but this time without car damage.

    Levin was a very tight kidney shaped track around another racecourse, about 90 minutes drive north of Wellington. I recall watching titanic F5000 battles there between Frank Matich and Graham McRae, before the track was closed about 1974. As an aside, McLaren’s Cooper featured in the Bruce McLaren Tribute meeting at Hampton Downs, near Auckland, in January 2010, and it was a real treat to have a close look at it in the pits.

  2. Thanks Allan – what times. I saw the ’64 Warwick Farm Tasman race. Jack dominated but both Bruce and Timmy were very impressive. Frank Matich too.

  3. Derek Kneller on said:

    Hi Peter I might be bias , but Frank Matich was al
    ways impressive in a race car

  4. Thank you Peter, truly enjoyed the video with your voice-over, well done! I don’t recognize many people in these “old” videos so it helps to have them identified as you did.

    I am amazed how those guys – heroes – accomplished so much around the world in those times with the existent communications & transportation systems. Extraordinary.

    One last thing – I can’t imagine being in those scoring/position stands if there was any kind of wind, look a bit shaky!

  5. Hi Derek – good to hear from you. Yes, I often wonder what would have happened had Frank accepted one of the several F1 drives he was offered.

  6. Thanks. The amount of time they spent travelling was just extraordinary – let alone the trips to local garages and fabricators at each venue. And yet it all happened. It all worked…

  7. Beautiful commentary Peter.

  8. Thanks Peter – very kind.

  9. Bill Ownby on said:

    What a fantastic look back in time. Thank you so very much for your contibution. Your voice over made me feel as if I were there.

  10. Many thanks. I wish I had been there! Thanks to YouTube, though, we can all at last get a taste of what it was all about.

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