Founded in 1963 by race car driver Bruce McLaren, McLaren cars raced at Indianapolis from 1970 to 1982 and won three times. McLaren has been involved in all forms of motorsport including Formula 1, Can Am and Indy. In recent years, they were battling for the lead in the 2010 Formula 1 World Championships.
This blue and yellow liveried car is the McLaren M16B that was driven by Mark Donahue at Indianapolis in 1972. Developed from the previous year's M16A, which dominated the opposition, the M16B was campaigned by both the McLaren team and the Roger Penske team that was sponsored by Sunoco that year. Donohue drove the Offenhauser-power McLaren M16B around the famed Indianapolis Brickyard at an average speed of 162.962 mph to take the first of the three McLaren Indy 500 wins.
This was the first year in which 'bolt-on' rear wings were permitted, and with very generous specifications allowed to begin with, the speeds skyrocketed. Bobby Unser raised the single-lap mark from 179 to 196 mph in just one year. Donohue, who started third, qualified at 191.403 mph and he went on to establish a new record for 500 miles at 162.962 mph, a speed which held up for 12 years. The victory was Donohue's 50th for the team.
Team McLaren has scored three Indy 500 victories, in the open wheeled American racing series. The first win was in 1972 wîth Mark Donohue piloting the McLaren M16B, and Johnny Rutherford scored two victories in 1974 and 1976. The following tells the story of the 1974 race.
It was Johnny Rutherford's second year wîth Team McLaren and a number of rule changes had been introduced which were aimed at reducing the overall speed of the cars. These included reducing the size of the rear wings, lowering the turbo boost by at least seven mph from the previous year, and reducing the fuel capacity by 30 gallons, down from 75 to 45 gallons.
Qualifying was spread out over two consecutive Saturdays, and during Rutherford's first session his engine blew up. Despite a very quick engine change, he was not allowed to qualify until the following Saturday. On the second qualifying day he was the second fastest, but had to start the race in 25th place.
On race day itself, Rutherford had a sensational start, moving up through the field to third place by lap 12. Later in the race he moved up a place and was battling wîth race leader A.J Foyt. Foyt was black flagged for oil smoke on lap 139 and then later broke the scavenger pump on his turbocharger which caused his retirement.
Rutherford took the lead, which he held for 59 of the last 60 laps, only losing it briefly to Bobby Únser when he made his final pitstop. Rutherford went on to take victory at an average speed of 255 kph, lapping the entire field except for Únser who finished second.Source - McLaren