1976 McLaren M23

The McLaren M23 was introduced in 1973 and borrowed design inspired from the Lotus 72 and from their own M16 Indy car. McLaren had separated themselves from most other racing car manufacturers by dabbling in multiple series. The traditional thought was to specialize in one arena rather than spread one's self thin by trying to do it all. McLaren proved they were up to the task by running successfully in four major championships - Formula 1, Formula 5000, CanAm, and Indy. Part of their success was using knowledge gained in one series to benefit the others. By the early 1970's, McLaren had won the Indy 500 and the F5000, CanAm, and F1 Championship.

McLaren entered the F1 Series in 1966 and managed a few wins throughout the first few years. It was not until McLaren married technology from their F1 program to their Indy program that their prospects in the sport changed. Gordon Cuppock took the monocoque of the M16B, the car that won the Indy 500 in 1972, and adapted it to the M19 Formula One car to create the M23.

McLaren began using the car in the third race of the 1973 season. Denny Hulme and Peter Revson drove the car to a third place finish in the constructor's championship. Revson, who had scored two victories, one at the British Grand Prix and the second at the Canadian Grand Prix, finished fifth in the championship while Hulme finished in sixth position with one race victory. Revson went to race for Shadow in 1974. Tragedy struck at the South African Grand Prix in Johannesburg when his suspension failed in his Shadow DN3 and he was killed. This was very unfortunately as his brother had died in a crash in Denmark in 1967. Revson was replaced by Tom Pryce in F1 competition, who lost his life three years later at the same Grand Prix.

In the 1974 the Yardley livery on the M23 was replaced with new sponsorship, Marlboro-Texaco. This would begin a relationship between Marlboro and McLaren that would last for a long time. Emerson Fittipaldi was added to the team to take the place of Revson. In the first two races of the season, the Hulme and Fittipaldi duo were able to score victories for Team McLaren. Fittipaldi went on to finish the season in second place in the world championship. The work by both drivers earned the McLaren team its first constructor's championship title. To add to their successful season, a M16C had been driven to the team's second Indy 500 victory.

At the end of the 1974 season, Hulme retired from competition and was replaced by Jochen Mass. The M23 continued to be used in competition and was still competitive enough to earn Fittipaldi a second place finish behind Austrian Niki Lauda in his Ferrari 312T. McLaren finished in third position in the constructors' championship.

The 1975 season was one of the most entertaining seasons of all time, though controversial. The entire season came down to the last race and the last few laps. The season ended much differently than it began. During the first eight races, Niki Lauda racked up enough points to lead the next closest competitor by nearly double. He had won four races and earned three podium finishes. At Nurburgring, Lauda was involved in an accident that left him burned, bruised, and in no condition to finish the season. He returned to the sport only three races after his accident, still bearing the burns, bruises, and injuries of his accident. He was in no condition to drive, yet he did, though he was not as fast as he was prior to the race. Hunt took advantage of the situation and won four the next six races. The final race was at the Japanese Grand Prix. Hunt was just three points behind Lauda. The day prior to the race, it rained so much that the teams and drivers voted not to race. The organizers of the event felt compelled to give the crowd what they had come to see, so the race was not canceled. Shortly before the race, the rain subsided slightly which made conditions a little more suitable for the drivers. With the accident still fresh in Lauda's mind, he decided to retire from the race. Hunt still needed a fourth place finish to pass Lauda in points and secure the championship. With only a few laps to go, Hunt was in fifth place. Due to the conditions on the track, many racers, including Hunt, had spun and had to battle to regain their positions. With only three laps to go, Hunt was able to move into the third place and secured his championship victory.

The M23 was used again in 1976 but raced for only part of the season, as it was replaced by the M26. By this time, McLaren was focusing all their attention on the sport which was not a good formula for the team. Their luck changed for the next few years in Formula 1 competition and they experienced their worst performance in Formula 1 competition.

The M23 had won 16 victories, one constructors' championship and two drivers championships. In total, 13 examples were produced.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2007
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1976 Formula One Season
Scuderia FerrariFerrari312 T2
312 T 
Austria Andreas Nikolaus 'Niki' Lauda
Switzerland Gianclaudio Giuseppe 'Clay' Regazzoni
Argentina Carlos Alberto Reutemann 
Marlboro McLarenMcLaren
United Kingdom James Simon Wallis Hunt
Germany Jochen Richard Mass 
Elf Team TyrrellTyrrell
France Patrick André Eugène Joseph Depailler
South Africa Jody David Scheckter 
John Player Team LotusLotus
United States Mario Gabriele Andretti
United Kingdom Robert 'Bob' Evans
Sweden Gunnar Nilsson
Sweden Bengt Ronnie Peterson 
Ligier GitanesLigier France Jacques-Henri Laffite 20
Citibank Team PenskePenske
United Kingdom John Marshall 'Wattie' Watson 20
March EngineeringMarch
Italy Vittorio Brambilla
Italy Maria Grazia 'Lella' Lombardi
Italy Arturo Francesco 'Little Art' Merzario
Sweden Bengt Ronnie Peterson
Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck 
Shadow Racing TeamShadow
France Jean-Pierre Jacques Jarier
United Kingdom Thomas Maldwyn Pryce 
Martini RacingBrabham
Brazil José Carlos Pace
Australia Larry Clifton Perkins
Argentina Carlos Alberto Reutemann
Germany Rolf Johann Stommelen 
10 Team SurteesSurtees
Sweden Conny Andersson
Australia Alan Stanley Jones
United States Robert Brett Lunger
Japan Noritake Takahara 
11 Copersucar-FittipaldiFittipaldi Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi
Brazil Ingo Hoffmann 
12 Team EnsignEnsign New Zealand Christopher Arthur Amon
Austria Hans Binder
Belgium Jacques Bernard 'Jacky' Ickx
Belgium Patrick Nève 
13 Vel's Parnelli Jones RacingParnelli United States Mario Gabriele Andretti 1
 HB Bewaking Alarm SystemsBoro Australia Larry Clifton Perkins 
 Lexington RacingTyrrell
South Africa Ian Scheckter 
 Scuderia Gulf RondiniTyrrell
Italy Alessandro Pesenti-Rossi 
 OASC Racing TeamTyrrell
Austria Otto Stuppacher 
 Heroes RacingTyrrell
Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino 
 RAM RacingBrabham Spain Emilio de Villota Ruíz
United Kingdom Robert 'Bob' Evans
Switzerland Loris Kessel
Italy Maria Grazia 'Lella' Lombardi
United Kingdom Damien Magee
Denmark Jacob 'Jac' Nelleman
Belgium Patrick Nève 
 Shellsport/WhitingSurtees United Kingdom Divina Mary Galica 
 Team Norev / B&S FabricationsSurtees
France Henri Pescarolo 
 Stanley BRMBRM United Kingdom Ian Hugh Gordon Ashley 
 Team P R ReillyShadow
United Kingdom Mike Wilds 
 Frank Williams Racing CarsWilliams
New Zealand Christopher Arthur Amon
Belgium Jacques Bernard 'Jacky' Ickx
France Michel Leclère
Italy Renzo Zorzi 
 Walter Wolf RacingWilliams
New Zealand Christopher Arthur Amon
Austria Hans Binder
Australia Warwick Brown
Belgium Jacques Bernard 'Jacky' Ickx
Japan Masami Kuwashima
France Michel Leclère
Italy Arturo Francesco 'Little Art' Merzario 
 Mapfre-WilliamsWilliams Spain Emilio Rodríguez Zapico 
 Hesketh RacingHesketh Austria Harald Ertl
Brazil Alex Dias Ribeiro
Germany Rolf Johann Stommelen 
 Penthouse Rizla Racing with HeskethHesketh United Kingdom Guy Richard Goronwy Edwards 
 F&S PropertiesPenske
Netherlands Johan 'Boy' Hayje 
 Kojima EngineeringKojima Japan Masahiro Hasemi 
 Maki EngineeringMaki United Kingdom Tony Trimmer 

1976 Season Review
RaceCircuitDateWinning DriverConstructor
 Brazilian Grand Prix  InterlagosJan 1976  Andreas Nikolaus 'Niki' LaudaFerrari 
 South African Grand Prix  KyalamiMar 1976  Andreas Nikolaus 'Niki' LaudaFerrari 
 United States Grand Prix West  Long BeachMar 1976  Gianclaudio Giuseppe 'Clay' RegazzoniFerrari 
 Spanish Grand Prix  JaramaMay 1976  James Simon Wallis HuntMcLaren 
 Belgian Grand Prix  ZolderMay 1976  Andreas Nikolaus 'Niki' LaudaFerrari 
 Monaco Grand Prix  MonacoMay 1976  Andreas Nikolaus 'Niki' LaudaFerrari 
 Swedish Grand Prix  ScandinavianJun 1976  Jody David ScheckterTyrrell 
 French Grand Prix  Paul RicardJul 1976  James Simon Wallis HuntMcLaren 
 British Grand Prix  Brands HatchJul 1976  Andreas Nikolaus 'Niki' LaudaFerrari 
 German Grand Prix  NürburgringAug 1976  James Simon Wallis HuntMcLaren 
 Austrian Grand Prix  OsterreichringAug 1976  John Marshall 'Wattie' WatsonPenske 
 Dutch Grand Prix  ZandvoortAug 1976  James Simon Wallis HuntMcLaren 
 Italian Grand Prix  MonzaSep 1976  Bengt Ronnie PetersonMarch 
 Canadian Grand Prix  MosportOct 1976  James Simon Wallis HuntMcLaren 
 United States Grand Prix  Watkins GlenOct 1976  James Simon Wallis HuntMcLaren 
 Japanese Grand Prix  Fuji SpeedwayOct 1976  Mario Gabriele AndrettiLotus 

Formula One World Drivers' Champions
1950 G. Farina
1951 J. Fangio
1952 A. Ascari
1953 A. Ascari
1954 J. Fangio
1955 J. Fangio
1956 J. Fangio
1957 J. Fangio
1958 M. Hawthorn
1959 S. Brabham
1960 S. Brabham
1961 P. Hill, Jr
1962 N. Hill
1963 J. Clark, Jr.
1964 J. Surtees
1965 J. Clark, Jr.
1966 S. Brabham
1967 D. Hulme
1968 N. Hill
1969 S. Stewart
1970 K. Rindt
1971 S. Stewart
1972 E. Fittipaldi
1973 S. Stewart
1974 E. Fittipaldi
1975 A. Lauda
1976 J. Hunt
1977 A. Lauda
1978 M. Andretti
1979 J. Scheckter
1980 A. Jones
1981 N. Piquet
1982 K. Rosberg
1983 N. Piquet
1984 A. Lauda
1985 A. Prost
1986 A. Prost
1987 N. Piquet
1988 A. Senna
1989 A. Prost
1990 A. Senna
1991 A. Senna
1992 N. Mansell
1993 A. Prost
1994 M. Schumacher
1995 M. Schumacher
1996 D. Hill
1997 J. Villeneuve
1998 M. Hakkinen
1999 M. Hakkinen
2000 M. Schumacher
2001 M. Schumacher
2002 M. Schumacher
2003 M. Schumacher
2004 M. Schumacher
2005 F. Alonso
2006 F. Alonso
2007 K. Raikkonen
2008 L. Hamilton
2009 J. Button
2010 S. Vettel
2011 S. Vettel
2012 S. Vettel
2013 S. Vettel
2014 L. Hamilton
2015 L. Hamilton
2016 N. Rosberg
2017 L. Hamilton

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