January 11th, 2015, was the 51st anniversary of Bruce McLaren winning the New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe. Denny Hulme came second and Bruce's team mate Timmy Mayer was third. This was a fantastic result for the fledgling team headed by Bruce McLaren and Teddy Mayer - Bruce McLaren Motor Racing - in its first major international campaign.
What Bruce and Teddy achieved in ensuing years, ably assisted by a small band of extremely hard working and dedicated people, is incredible.
How they accomplished what they did is a story that transcends motor racing and is relevant to all people in all walks of life who set out on a path of achievement despite the impediments, complications and challenges in their way.
Major motion pictures are difficult and complex undertakings and our Bruce McLaren Movie has been no different but taking our cues and inspiration from Bruce and Teddy we are achieving what we set out to do despite the extremely high hurdles that must be cleared and standards of excellence that are demanded.
A dramatic film engages the audience in an emotionally connected way and people form a personal bond with the main characters. I think the world will be a better place if millions of people form a personal emotional bond with Bruce and Teddy and their small team of extraordinary friends who inspired and motivated everyone who knew them.
Worthwhile endeavours take time but the script we now have, after several iterations and much testing of ideas and creative concepts, is outstanding. Armed with this we are seeing excellent progress on all fronts.
Michael Garlick - Producer
At the A1GP in Taupo the world was finally told of the plan to bring the remarkable story of Bruce McLaren to the big screen. At 9:30am on Saturday morning the producers appeared before the press with the support of many of the people who were part of Bruce’s story. These included Patty McLaren, Bruce and Patty’s daughter Amanda McLaren, Eoin Young (writer and friend), Walter Willmott and Bruce Harre (original McLaren mechanics), Chris Amon and Sir Jack Brabham (close friends and drivers), Phil Kerr (manager and friend), Anita Hulme (Denny Hulme’s sister), Jan McLaren (Bruce’s sister), and drivers Emerson Fittipaldi and John Watson.
To mark the occasion the track was later graced with the presence of some very special cars, driven by some very special drivers.
Bruce McLaren’s 1959 Cooper Climax was taken out on to the track by former Formula One World Champion and Bruce’s very good friend and mentor, Sir Jack Brabham. In keeping with the spirit of his era Sir Jack never bothered with overalls or helmet, he simply climbed in wearing slacks and a shirt and blazed out on to the track.
A McLaren M4, resplendent in the famous McLaren orange, was driven by former McLaren driver, and winner of several Formula One races, John Watson. Chris Amon took to the track in a Ford GT40. This was the model of car in which he and Bruce, some 41 years earlier, had captured the Le Mans title for Ford.
And lastly there was the McLaren M23 Formula One car. Emerson Fittipaldi, two time Formula One World Champion, accepted an invitation to drive this car for Sunday. On the flight over he decided that maybe he would also take it out on the Saturday. He arrived at the track on the Friday, saw the car and immediately said “get my helmet and gloves”. He didn’t hold back and his only complaint was that there wasn’t enough fuel in the car because he wanted to drive for longer.
Over the weekend Bruce was remembered in a lot of ways. Obviously he was spoken about at the press conference by many, but there were other, less public ways in which he was brought to mind. Like the original mechanics catching up as they once again toiled on the cars of McLaren. It served as a reminder that while for most of us Bruce’s story has long since passed into legend, for a few he was a friend, a brother, a husband, a father, and in his passing he left behind a void that is still felt to this day.
More images of the event, including larger versions of those featured here, can be seen in the Images section.