Bruce McLaren 50th anniversary to be celebrated at CRC Speedshow

AutoTrader NZ
Published 3 September 2020

The seventh edition of CRC Speedshow, New Zealand’s biggest annual automotive and motorsport extravaganza, takes place at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland over the weekend of 20 and 21 July 2013.

The dates align perfectly with the 1963 formation of Bruce McLaren’s UK-based racing operation, which has since evolved into the McLaren Group comprising the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team and the supercar manufacturer McLaren Automotive.

For Jan McLaren, Bruce’s sister and chief executive officer of the Bruce McLaren Trust, the opportunity to commemorate Bruce McLaren’s successes at the 2013 CRC Speedshow helps bring the legend of her brother’s international achievements to life for new generations of race fans.

“With 2013 marking the 50th anniversary since Bruce started his own company and racing team, we’re excited to be able to profile Bruce McLaren the highly-successful designer, engineer, Grand Prix winner, race car builder and race team owner to the tens of thousands of CRC Speedshow visitors,” says Ms McLaren.

“Bruce’s racing successes in the 1950s and 1960s are still remarkable today and we appreciate having the opportunity to talk with younger motorsport fans about Bruce as a true legend of New Zealand motor racing.”

Ms McLaren cites examples of Bruce’s success such as, in 1959 at just 22 years of age, he became the youngest-ever winner of a World Championship Formula 1 race, a record that stood for over 40 years.

“Then having formed BMMR in 1963, Bruce then drove and won the F1 GP at Spa in his own McLaren-Ford in 1968. At the same time Bruce and fellow Kiwi Denny Hulme raced in the Canadian-American Chal¬lenge Cup (CanAm) sports car series with Bruce’s team producing the McLaren CanAm cars which won five of six races in the 1967 series, four of six in 1968 and all 11 races in 1969.

“While taking nothing away from New Zealanders who have competed with great success in world motorsport since, Bruce’s achievements were ground-breaking and all took place before his tragic death testing a new McLaren CanAm car at just 32 years of age.”

The Bruce McLaren Trust will help create a multi-dimensional display of cars, trophies, images and memorabilia from the formative years of BMMR at CRC Speedshow. The only McLaren M8A in existence in the world, originally built in 1967 sporting a 7-litre, 640 bhp, big block 427 cubic inch Chev and lovingly restored by the Trust and its supporters, will be on display with other priceless race cars used by Hulme and other Kiwi F1 star Chris Amon.

CRC Speedshow’s managing director Ross Prevette says he is honoured to be able to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bruce McLaren Motor Racing.

“Without doubt Bruce McLaren’s achievements make him an icon of New Zealand motorsport and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to showcase this and other Kiwi legends of speed at the 2013 CRC Speedshow next July,” says Prevette. “It’s our pleasure to work with the Bruce McLaren Trust to create a special tribute to Bruce McLaren Motor Racing, an organisation which showed the world just what Kiwi ingenuity and talent can do.”

The Trust will also host a celebratory dinner on Friday 19 July before CRC Speedshow opens to the public on Saturday 20 July. A charity auction will help raise funds for the Trust’s ongoing work preserving the history of Bruce McLaren and other Kiwi racing icons of his era.

Ms McLaren adds: “Further details about the celebratory dinner will be made available next year. In the meantime, anyone who would like to register their interest to purchase tickets is welcome to contact the Trust office via email to”

The 2013 edition of CRC Speedshow is set to feature an exciting and diverse array of spectacular vehicles, notes Prevette.

“Alongside these three New Zealand legends of speed – Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme and Chris Amon, we’re looking forward to seeing many of the latest new vehicles on the New Zealand market, numerous popular race teams and drivers, as well as feature vehicles such as the gold-plated, multi award-winning ‘hot rod on two wheels’ called Nehme-sis, a 3.5-metre long, custom-built chopper has never been out of the US.”

CRC Speedshow takes place at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland over the weekend of 20 and 21 July 2013 and the event website,, is updated on a regular basis with news and exhibitor information.

Key facts about Bruce McLaren and Bruce McLaren Motor Racing:

* Bruce first competed at age 15 in a hill-climb in a highly-tweaked Austin 7 prepared by himself and his engineer father.

* Bruce was the first winner of the New Zealand International Grand Prix Association’s “Driver to Europe” scholarship in 1958 where he met key people Jack Brabham, and John and Charles Cooper.

* At 22, Bruce became the then youngest driver to win a World Championship F1 race, the U.S. Grand Prix at Sebring, in a Cooper in 1959.

* In 1960 23-year-old Bruce was second in the standings for World Cham¬pionship driver, behind Cooper team-mate Brabham.

* He remained with Cooper until 1966, succeeding Brabham as their no. 1 driver when Brabham left in 1962 to build his own cars. Bruce started racing in other categories, including sports cars and successes included his 1966 win of the Le Mans 24 hour race with fellow New Zealander Chris Amon in a 7-litre Ford GT40 Mark II. In 1967 Bruce won the Sebring 12 hour with Mario Andretti in a Ford GT40 Mark IV.

* The 1963 milestone of Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd saw Bruce take his own two specially built 2.5-litre Coopers down-under for the 1964 Tasman series, which he won.

* Adding business skills to his highly-regarded car development and testing abilities, Bruce produced McLaren Formula 1 cars and won Spa in 1968 in his own McLaren-Ford. Later that year his team driver, another Kiwi Denny Hulme, won the Italian and Canadian GPs in McLaren-Fords.

* The pinnacles of Bruce’s career are regarded as his win in the McLaren M7A F1 car at the Belgium GP in 1968 – he is one of only two men ever to design, build, race and win in a car bearing his own name – and the Canadian-American Chal¬lenge Cup series for Group 7 sports cars which the team dominated for five years.

Bruce McLaren, racing legend: 30 August 1937 – 2 June 1970