Team McLaren dominated the 1970 CanAm season by winning nine of ten races. It was their fourth championship in a row. For 1971 a new model, the M8F was built for Denny Hulme, the 1970 CanAm champion and his teammate Peter Revson. The F was based on the M8D but differed in several aspects. The aluminum monocoque chassis was 3-inches longer and employed thicker gauge aluminum panels, flush riveted. Wider 17-inch rims were fitted at the rear necessitating different suspension geometry. Brakes started in-board but were relocated outboard by the Elkhart Lake event. Hewland's revised Mark II transaxle was employed with stronger case and side plates. The body work was an evolution too with a reshaped nose featuring a narrow inlet to the radiator which became full width at Mid-Ohio. Also new was the door ducting on Denny's car only which became the Trojan production specification. The fender top fences now extended full length from the rear wing mounts to the tip of the nose, better channeling airflow to the rear wing. A triangular titanium roll bar was unique to the F. Official weight was listed at 1520 pounds.
Chevrolet's big-block power plant was used again, built in house and employing an aluminum block with cast-iron liners. Displacement was 495 cubic-inches producing 740 horsepower at 6400RPM with 655 foot-pounds of torque. Reynolds Aluminum produced its own sleeveless aluminum block enabling larger pistons due to the lack of liners. Displacement was 509 cubic-inches and this power plant was adopted by the team midway through the season. This car is presently fitted with such an engine. Current horsepower is 744 at 5700 RPM although the red line is about 7000 RPM. Maximum torque is 698 at 5300 RPM. Fitted with a Vertex magneto and Lucas/Mackay fuel injection, the engine fires easily and is very loud. McLaren's engine builder Gary Knutson pioneered a new intake trumpet design featuring staggered trumpets of two different lengths which smoothed out the power curve. They found their way on Team McLaren engines during the 1971 season.
This car is chassis M8F-1, one of two Fs built by the McLaren factory. It was built for and used exclusively by Denny Hulme in all ten races of the 1971 CanAm Championship. Hulme won the season opener at Mosport, again at Edmonton and the final race at Riverside. His teammate Peter Revson won five races and the Championship. 1971 was the final year McLaren won the CanAm Championship. By 1972 Porsche's 917-10 turbocharged racer displaced the M8 series as the dominant car. Even though Team McLaren produced an updated M20 for 1972, it only won twice compared to Porsche's six victories. Trojan built nine copies of the M8F in 1972, under license from McLaren. These cars were designated M8FPs and lacked 'works' features such as stainless steel suspension pick-up points, titanium roll bar and bracketry and custom details only one-off hand built cars possess. In many respects, the M8F represents the pinnacle of McLaren's CanAm success and the ultimate big banger. At the end of the 1971 season M8F-1 was sold to Greg Young's All American Raincg Team. It was badly crashed by Young at Edmonton in 1972 and ultimately sold at season's end to the Commander Motor Homes Team in whose possession it was rebuilt. By 1974 Charlie Nearburg owned the car and he installed a small-block Chevy engine. Gary Arnst next owned M8F-1 and completely restored it, installed a correct aluminum big-block Chevy. Then it went to Jim Stollenwerck and in 1987 to George Parlby in Australia and then to Bruce McCaw for whom the current owner acquired it in March of 2002. Duncan Fox of Group 7 Sportscars in New Zealand gave M8F-1 a comprehensive restoration. Duncan and crew did extensive research and returned the car to the configuration in which it raced in during the 1971 season, refitting many original works pieces. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2014
The McLaren Company was founded in 1963 by New Zealander Bruce McLaren. He had enjoyed many successful seasons as a driver with Cooper and decided to start his own team using a heavily modified Cooper Zerek known as 'The Jolly Green Giant.'
In 1970, Bruce McLaren died at England's Goodwood race course while testing a Can-Am car. The McLaren company is the only race team to have won Formula One, Indianapolis 500, Can-Am and LeMans championship. The team was the first to design a car using a carbon fiber monocoque, which is now in use by all teams. The team still competes in Formula One and won the 2008 World Championship.
The McLaren M8F was one of a series produced as evolving models from the late 1960s into the mid-1970s. This car is one of three factory-built M8Fs and is claimed to be the 1971 Can-Am world Championship winning car driven by Peter Revson. The car won four of nine races that year on the way to this championship.
McLaren had done extremely well during the 1967 CanAm season with their M6A Works Team cars. They had secured a championship victory with their three cars. For 1968, McLaren put this design into production as a customer car and dubbed them the M6B.
Bruce McLaren was the youngest Grand Prix winner who would eventually become a car manufacturer. His resume includes racing on the Cooper Works F1 team during the era of the very competitive mid-engined Coopers. He was a works driver for a few years before purchasing his own Cooper in 1963, a car known as the Zerex Special. He campaigned the car in the American sports car series for a few years, modifying it as needed, and eventually building a new racer from the group up. The car has a spaceframe chassis and was named the M1. It was first seen in 1964 and it quickly proved it was a very capable machine earning a reputation and a contract with Elva/Trojan for the production of customer versions. This gave the Works team the financial backing and the time to focus on their racing program.
Within a few years, McLaren had diversified into other racing segments, building monoposto's that could be used in Formula 1 competition. The M1 was used in the newly formed CanAm Series with some success, but the Lola T70 ultimately proved too competitive. The M1 was replaced by the M6 that featured an aluminum monocoque and fiberglass body. This setup was similar to the T70. The McLaren Oldsmobile V8 engines that powered the M6 cars had been lightweight but lacking in power compared to other team cars. A change was made to Chevrolet engines that offered large displacement sizes. The chassis of the M6A was brought to life in just eleven weeks. The design had been made by Robin Herd. Bruce McLaren and teammate Denny Hulme fine-tuned the design through rigorous testing session. The chassis was aluminum monocoque which was both lightweight and strong. During the 1967, McLaren and Hulme dominated. McLaren earned 30 points and Hulme was close behind with 27. The McLarens and their Gulf-sponsored cars had won five of the six qualifying races and easily outclassed the competition.
Trojan handled the production of the M6B customer cars, again freeing McLaren for new development work and to concentrate on racing. The next McLaren racer was the M8A introduced in 1968. It had a big-block V8 engine that produced 620 horsepower. It had an aluminum monocoque, independent suspension, and ventilated disc brakes on all four corners. The entire package was clothed in a fiberglass body which was wider than its predecessors. The increased width helped conceal the very wide tires and also aided in vehicle aerodynamics.
Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme drove the Works M8A to the Championship, winning four of the six rounds. The other two races were won by customer driven McLarens. An added bonus for the team was that their M7 Cosworth powered racer had also won the Formula 1 Championship that year.
The M8B McLaren was the next iteration of the M8 series. It drew its inspiration from the Chaparrals, being given a large wing, a slightly increased width, and an increase in power. These small changes kept the car competitive, well, dominate! McLaren won all eleven races during the season with Bruce winning six of the races and his second CanAm title.
The suspension mounted wings were deemed too dangerous and banned for the 1970 season. The customer cars this season were the M8C while the Works drove the M8D. The M8C models, the first customer cars of the M8 model-line, featured a chassis mounted wing and a body design similar to the prior McLaren M8 cars. The Works cars again grew in width to accommodate the wider tires. The engines received an increase in power which made the wider tires even more necessary to help alleviate wheel-spin and to keep the vehicle stable during heavy cornering. The 7-liter engine was enlarged to 7.6-liters resulting in a very impressive 670 horsepower. The body was new, with a design that earned it the nickname 'Batmobile.'
The season would begin with tragedy, as Bruce was killed during a test session in the M8D at Goodwood. The season would continue for the McLaren marque, with Dan Gurney filling the void left by Bruce during the first race. Peter Gethin would take over for the remained of the season. Denny Hulme won six victories with Gethin/Gurney winning three.
For 1971, the M8F was introduced. It was an evolution of the M8D with many changes to the engine. The V8 unit was constructed from lightweight aluminum and had a displacement size over 8 liters. The result was a staggering 740 horsepower making this the first CanAm car to exceed the 1000bhp/ton mark. Trojan continued to build the customer cars which were now called the M8E. This versions were similar to M8C but fitted with a new strut mounted rear wing. Two of the M8E cars were modified to similar design of the M8D cars; these two cars are known as the M8E/D.
The factory drivers for 1971 were Hulme and Peter Revson. Hulme won three races with Revson winning four. This made Revson the first American to win the CanAm Series title.
For 1972, the factory cars were the newly introduced M20 which featured a turbocharged V8 engine and side-mounted radiators. By now, other marque's had caught up to McLaren in terms of design and development, and the McLaren winning streak would come to an end. Leading the pack were the very powerful Porsche 917s which had over 900 horsepower at their disposal. The McLarens, producing just under 800 horsepower, were unable to keep pace as they once did.
When the 1972 season came to a close, McLaren withdrew from the series. Instead, they turned their attention to monoposto racing. The CanAm series would continue for only a short time longer, as sponsorship continued to decline resulting in the season ending prematurely. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2008
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