The announcement of the Scalextric sponsored Chequered Flag team.


McLaren together with Ferrari are the two most successful teams in Grand Prix history and like Ferrari McLaren have had success in other classes of racing, notably Can-Am and Indy car racing. Bruce McLaren had bought the Xerex Special sports car from Roger Penske in America and after racing it himself he decided in 1964 to build his own sports car the McLaren M1A powered by an Oldsmobile engine. Trojan took over the production of customer cars and at the end of 1965 McLaren took the decision to leave the Cooper F1 team and start his own GP project, the rest, as they say, is history. After a sticky start finding a suitable engine when he tried a converted Ford Indy V8 and then a Serenissima V8 he bought one of the new BRM V12s and fitted to his new M5 chassis and was immediately competitive. The following year, 1968, he bought some Ford DFVs and fitted them to the M7A, Denny Hulme joined and McLaren started winning GPs. At the same time the legendary Bruce & Denny show totally dominated Can-Am racing for the next few years and their cars won USAC races in America. Tragically Bruce lost his life in a testing accident at Goodwood in 1970 but the team continued through the good years with Emerson Fittipaldi and James Hunt but by the end of the seventies the team began to fade as ground effect came in. Sponsors Marlboro pushed McLaren into joining together with Ron Dennis of Project Four and McLaren International was formed. This shotgun marriage worked better than anyone dared hope and from then on McLaren became the team to beat as Alain Prost, Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna, Gerhard Berger, Mikka Hakkinen and David Coulthard bought the team win after win.


Designed by Robin Herd the M4A consisted of a bathtub monocoque formed from aluminium panelling bonded and riveted to four mild steel bulkheads. The front suspension was a single top link with radius arms and lower wishbones, outboard coil spring/damper units and an anti-roll bar were also fitted. Twin radius arms, reversed lower wishbones and single top links with outboard coil spring and damper units were found at the rear of the car. The M4As seemed to suffer from a lack of development and although they started the season reasonably well and Mike Walker took a win at Oulton they quickly faded into also-rans. No more cars were built and this would be the only McLaren to race in F3.


1968 Ian Ashley, Mike Walker.

Mike Walker in the M4A.