Bruce McLaren never got the chance to see just how amazing his racing team and the motor car company that would arise from it would become. In fact, he never knew his name would be applied to supercars as his company built amazing racing machines at the time of his death during a test session in 1970. McLaren died doing what he loved best, driving one of his cars, the new M8D at the Goodwood circuit in southern England.
McLaren, who hailed from New Zealand, produced some of the all-time great racing machines of his day. One of those was the M6A, and the car that Bruce McLaren drove to the championship in the 1967 Can-Am Challenge Cup just hit the track 50 years later.
During a test session at another English track, Donington Park, McLaren put Motorsports Magazine journalist Richard Meaden behind the wheel of the legendary McLaren M6A.
In the video above, Meaden narrates his laps from behind the wheel and also gives some perspective from outside the car. He notes that the car is a monster to drive. It weighs only about 1,320-1,350 pounds and makes 500-525 horsepower. That's a crazy power-to-weight ratio today, and bonkers for a 50-year-old car. As you can see in the video, it's a lot faster than the other modern hatchbacks on the track.
Meaden also comments on the romance of the McLaren team back in the day. A small group of guys built this car and dominated Can-Am. At the same time, they were running in Formula One as well. It takes hundreds of millions and huge sponsorships to run F1 today.
Bruce McLaren gathered a team of designers to shape the M6A. Their gorgeous bodywork wrapped around a large Chevrolet V-8 engine, which helped propel the car to the front of the pack. The car made its debut in 1967 and promptly went on to win Bruce the Can-Am championship. If you don't watch this video for any other reason, the brutal sound of the engine is a treat in itself.