McLaren M30 photo

1980 McLaren M30

The McLaren M30 was raced during the 1980 Formula One season and only one example was created. It was designed by Gordon Cuppock and driven primarily by Alain Prost. The M29 had become obsolete and a new vehicle was needed. The result was the M30 which further capitalized on ground-effect design.

During practice at the United States Grand Prix, the M30 was damaged in an accident. The M30 would be the last new Formula One car completed by McLaren before Ron Dennis assumed leadership of the team the following year.

The M30 was raced to a sixth place finish at the Dutch Grand Prix, followed by a 7th at the Italian Grand Prix. The next and final race of the season was the US Grand Prix, where the car was unable to start the race. The eleven points earned by the M30 gave the team a seventh place finish in the Constructors Championship.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2011
McLaren continues to be renowned as one of the sport's most successful competitors today, with over forty years and 182 Grand Prix victories under their belt. They are also considered one of the world's most celebrated high-technology brands.

A limited edition model, the McLaren M30 is a Formula One racing vehicle that replaced the M29. Designed by Gordon Cuppock and produced by McLaren, it ran for part of the 1980 Formula One season. Most often it was driven by Alain Prost. The ground-effect design of the M29 was considered outdated, so the M30 with its advanced ground effects was introduced with intent to revive McLaren's competitiveness. The M30 featured the classic ground effect set up, close coupled exhausts over the top of the gearbox and rocker arm rear suspension.

The M30 was the final new car completed by McLaren before the team merged with Ron Dennis's Project 4 Formula 2 team and he took over the team the next year. The rear wheel drive M30 weighed in at 1322.8 lbs.

At the Dutch Grand Prix the M30 won sixth place and followed with seventh place at the Italian Grand Prix. During a practice for the 1980 U.S. Grand Prix the M30 was damaged in an accident. McLaren had no choice but to return to the M29 model for the 1981 season. The team received a seventh place finish in the Constructors Championship with the eleven points earned by the M30. Since then the car has been racing in historic competitions, first by Alo Lawler in England and then George Nuse in the USA. In 1984 the M30 caused quite a stir raced by Lawler. The vehicle kept most of its original Marlboro insignia along with a few hastily added LEP sponsor stickers, it even kept Prost's name by the roll hoop.

Sean Allen has raced the McLaren M30 competitively in the U.S. in the Historic Grand Prix since 2004. Tony Nicholson in Sonoma California at Robin Automotive is currently maintaining the surviving McLaren M30.


By Jessica Donaldson

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