"[In Bruce's time] hi-jinks were common place and although rivals on the track, the drivers were also great friends who travelled and partied together from race to race. Imagine Lewis Hamilton lending Jensen Button a spanner or even an engine and then having a beer together after the race today. F1 has changed beyond recognition and this film will take us all back to a time when motor racing was incredibly glamorous, extremely dangerous and very, very different to how it is today."
In 1958 after competing in a hill climb outside Timaru, Bruce McLaren attended a local Saturday night dance. It was there that he met Patty Broad, a beautiful young blonde who had won several local beauty contests. Bruce asked to drive her home, but Patty politely informed him that she had a prior engagement at another party. Not to be outdone, Bruce decided to search the town for this party. Despite spending half the night prowling the streets of Timaru the party remained elusive. Fortunately for Bruce, the following day he was able to track down her phone number, and invited her for a drive.
After Bruce won the Driver to Europe, Patty followed him to the UK. They were married in Patty’s home town of Christchurch in 1961 and their daughter, Amanda, was born in 1965. Far from being a mere spectator to Bruce’s career she could frequently be found at the side of the race track keeping a record of lap times or sitting beside Bruce filming laps of various circuits for later study. After Bruce died, Patty took his place on the Board of Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Limited and was closely involved with the team throughout the 1970s.
And then there were the parties, with celebrities such as Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and James Garner, and most memorably, a dinner at the Palace in Monaco. On this particular occasion a group of about six, including Bruce and Patty were waiting in a large hall with a highly polished marble floor. To Patty’s horror, and in her own words, “the boys [began] skating on the floor, when the door opened and there stood Princess Grace”.
These days Patty divides her time between New Zealand and the UK. She still enjoys watching Formula One and attends the British Grand Prix every year.