New Zealand film maker Roger Donaldson, known for such movies as The World’s Fastest Indian and Species, has directed an homage to fellow Kiwi and world renowned racing driver Bruce McLaren. It is due in theaters later this year and you can watch the trailer below. Formula One fans are familiar with the name McLaren because the team he started has been a major force in the sport for decades, winning numerous world championships along the way. Most fans could be excused for thinking that Ron Dennis created the team, but he merely purchased it from the heirs of Bruce McLaren after his death in testing at Goodwood in 1970.
The history of automobile racing is replete with the names of famous racing drivers: Fangio, Senna, Prost, Lauda, and Schumacher, to name just a few. Several film makers have tried to capture the sound and fury of motor racing. Some were good — John Frankenheimer’s 1966 classic Grand Prix and Ron Howard’s 2013 Rush, for example. Some approached greatness. I put Lee Katzen’s 1971 Le Mans in that category. Starring Steve McQueen, it focused “on racing at the expense of both plot and dialogue,” says Wikipedia. Many were truly awful. Talladaga Nights starring Will Ferrell and Driven featuring Sylvester Stallone both earned well deserved spots on the racing movie Wall of Shame.
McLaren began his racing career as an obscure driver in his native New Zealand. Like Carroll Shelby in America, a string of victories propelled him into the top echelons of the sport and spurred him to start his own team. The pinnacle of his career came in CanAm racing, the iconic open cockpit series with few rules and some of the fastest race cars ever seen. McLaren not only built his own race cars, he drove them, too. He and teammate Dennis Hume won so many races between 1967 and 1969 they came to be known as the Bruce and Denny Show as they traveled from one racing venue to another.
McLaren became the youngest Formula One driver of all time when he won his first grand prix in 1959 at the tender age of 22. (Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastien Vettel, and Max Verstappen have since beaten McLaren’s record.) He drove for Cooper for a number of years before setting up his own Formula One team at the end of the 1965 season.
The film includes tributes from such legendary racing drivers as Emerson Fittipaldi, Sir Jackie Stewart, Chris Amon, Howden Ganley, Dan Gurney, Lothar Motshchenbacher and Mario Andretti, as well as never before seen archival footage provided by McLaren’s heirs. The movie seeks to inform its audience about the full range of Bruce McLaren’s talents. More than just a top tier driver, he was also a world class engineer, designer, inventor, and tester.
Will the movie be great or merely just good? I know I will one of the first in line to answer that question for myself when it is released this fall.
Source: The Checkered Flag