Bruce McLaren
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The story of
Bruce McLaren

Bruce McLaren began life as a fairly typical child, racing his home made trolley down the local hill, blissfully unaware that he would soon be racing his way into the hearts of fans all around the world. At the age of 32 he would die while testing a Can Am car, but in his short lifetime he would become one of the most loved, respected and revered people in motor racing history.

Beginnings

Born and educated in Auckland, New Zealand, McLaren began racing sports cars while a student at technical college. In 1957, at age 20, he raced in the New Zealand Grand Prix, beginning his meteoric rise to the upper echelons of motor racing and racing car design. Team McLaren, formed in 1964, went on to become the most successful team in world motor sport with victories in the Tasman Series, Formula One, Indianapolis 500, Le Mans and Can Am racing series and championships.

Le Mans

This unlikeliest of heroes even attracted the attention of Henry Ford II. In an attempt to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Ford turned to McLaren and compatriot Chris Amon to engineer and drive their difficult Ford GT40 racing cars. The picture of Bruce McLaren, Henry Ford and Chris Amon on the winners’ podium at Le Mans still hangs proudly at Ford Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

Unexpected

No-one could have predicted that the 10 year-old boy battling Perthes Disease would develop an astonishingly sharp mind, an irrepressibly cheerful personality and leadership qualities that would not only enable him to walk again, but lead him to Europe and the United States in a bid to conquer the motor racing world. Nor did anyone foresee that the cheeky teenager with the limp would become, at 22, the youngest winner of a Formula One World Championship motor race – the United States Grand Prix – a feat only bettered since by new McLaren Formula One driver and Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso.

The Tale

The tale of Bruce McLaren and his brilliant team is one that covered the globe; from the United States and Canada, where he drove the fastest racing cars on earth, to the French countryside and its gruelling 24 hour race, from the Tasman series down under that attracted the world’s best drivers, to the glamorous social events of Monaco. It is the inspiring story of a short life lived to its absolute fullest.

The Movie

From the moment the checkered flag waved on that fateful day in 1964, the world knew they were witnessing something truly special. In their first major international campaign, Bruce McLaren Motor Racing defied all odds, led by the indomitable duo of Bruce McLaren and Teddy Mayer.

Today, we embark on an ambitious cinematic journey to tell the incredible story of these two legends and their extraordinary team. Join use as we delve into the heart of what drove this fledgling team to achieve greatness, a story that transcends the world of motor racing and inspires audiences from all walks of life.

FAQS

Does the McLaren family support the making of this film?

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Bruce McLaren's daughter Amanda is part of the project's working group, and his widow Patty also gave her support to the film. Many of Bruce's friends and colleagues are closely involved with the production. They are the closest we can get now to the real Bruce McLaren, and we deeply appreciate and respect their willingness to share their personal knowledge and memories. There have been many other attempts to make this film, but never before have Bruce's family and friends agreed to be involved.

Is this a documentary about Bruce McLaren?

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No. This will be a dramatic film based on the life of Bruce McLaren with actors portraying the people involved and the races recreated especially for the film. While we cannot possibly show all of Bruce’s life in two hours everyone involved is keenly aware of the need to stay as true as possible to the character of Bruce and his contemporaries as well as to the events surrounding his life.

Where will the film be made?

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At this stage no final decisions have been made regarding filming locations, however, after leaving New Zealand in 1958, McLaren lived in Britain and raced on all of the major circuits around the world, following the Formula One, Can Am and Tasman series. Therefore potential locations could well include New Zealand, United Kingdom, USA, Monaco, Germany and France.

What source material is being used to create the script?

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To capture who Bruce McLaren really was, the production is sourcing as much material as possible from the people who were actually there. At the launch of The Bruce McLaren Movie there were many people close to Bruce including Patty McLaren, Bruce and Patty’s daughter Amanda McLaren, Eoin Young, Walter Willmott, Bruce Harre, Chris Amon, Sir Jack Brabham, Greeta Hulme, John Surtees and Emerson Fittipaldi. It is our intention to draw from these people, and many others close to Bruce, the heart and soul of Bruce's incredible story.

Where will you get the McLaren cars from?

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Bruce's cars were so astonishingly good that many of the originals were kept. They have been restored or maintained in running condition by colleagues, friends and collectors. We will rebuild the ones we need. Bruce's original designers and mechanics have already asked to be involved.

How will you stage the races?

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This will be dealt with in great detail once we move into pre-production, but it is clear that a range of options exist to recreate some of the truly spectacular races in motorsport history. In some cases the original tracks exist in a similar condition to how they were in the sixties, while others no longer exist at all. Thus the film will most likely use a combination of full scale re-enactments with purpose built or original cars, scale models, and computer generated imagery.

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