Bruce McLaren, motorsport legend and founder of the renowned racing and supercar company that still bears his name, has been recognized with a posthumous honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from the University of Auckland. This comes as McLaren marks 60 years since he founded the company.
The late engineer, innovator and racing driver was honored for his contributions to engineering in a ceremony at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England. His daughter, Amanda McLaren, accepted the award on his behalf.
Image Credit: McLaren Technology Centre Media
After completing the first year of his Bachelor of Engineering degree at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, Bruce was the first recipient of the New Zealand International Grand Prix Association’s Driver to Europe Scholarship. In 1959, at the age of 22, he became the youngest winner of a Formula 1 World Championship grand prix, a record that remained unbroken for 44 years.
Four years later, he established Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd, initially designing, building and racing cars in the Tasman Series in Australia and his native New Zealand.
With Kiwi teammate Denny Hulme, Bruce dominated the North American Can-Am Championship series from 1966-1970. On June 2 1970, the pioneering racing driver and engineer tragically lost his life at the age of 32 while testing one of his Can-Am racing cars at Goodwood Motor Circuit in West Sussex, England.
From its beginnings as Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd, McLaren has evolved into one of the world’s most admired racing and automotive brands. The McLaren of today is a validation of Bruce’s vision, as a producer of lightweight, carbon fiber constructed supercars and a pioneering racing team competing around the world in Formula 1, IndyCar, Formula E, Extreme E and esports.
The Doctor of Engineering degree for Bruce McLaren is one of four posthumous honorary doctorates being conferred as part of the University of Auckland’s 140th anniversary celebrations.
The University of Auckland is also planning to establish an engineering research center to honor and build on Bruce’s legacy. The proposed Bruce McLaren Centre for High Performance Engineering will empower future generations of Kiwi engineering excellence, and focus on integrating high performance materials, advanced manufacturing and innovative design to meet the world’s need for a prosperous and sustainable future.
“Bruce McLaren was a pioneer. We’re pleased to award him with an honorary doctorate to celebrate his achievements as an engineer, as well as his contributions to the motorsport and engineering community.”
Professor Dawn Freshwater, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland, New Zealand
“It’s a privilege to have my father’s achievements honored with a doctorate from the University of Auckland, the place of study where he furthered his passion for engineering. I know dad would be so impressed with the engineering advancements seen in the industry today, and especially in the supercars and racing cars that bear his name.”
Amanda McLaren, Bruce’s Daughter and Trustee of Bruce McLaren Trust
The University of Auckland maintains strong links with McLaren through the annual Bruce McLaren engineering scholarships, donor-supported awards that give Faculty of Engineering students the opportunity to spend three months interning at the supercar company, and which have recently expanded to include the Racing team.
The scholarship can play a significant role in helping students get on the road to success. Former Bruce McLaren engineering scholar and University alumna, Lizzy Grant, now works for the company developing battery technology for its electrified powertrains.
About McLaren Automotive:
McLaren Automotive is a creator of luxury, high-performance supercars.
Every vehicle is hand-assembled at the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) in Woking, Surrey, England.
Launched in 2010, the company is now the largest part of the McLaren Group.
The company’s product portfolio of GT, supercar, Motorsport and Ultimate models are retailed through over 100 retailers in over 40 markets around the world.
McLaren is a pioneer that continuously pushes the boundaries. In 1981, it introduced lightweight and strong carbon fiber chassis into Formula 1 with the McLaren MP4/1.
Then in 1993 it designed and built the McLaren F1 road car – the company has not built a car without a carbon fiber chassis since. As part of the Ultimate Series, McLaren was the first to deliver a hybrid hypercar, the McLaren P1™. In 2016, it announced a new hybrid hyper-GT and confirmed in 2018 that the next Ultimate car would be the Speedtail.
2019 saw McLaren launch the 600LT Spider, the new GT and the track-only McLaren Senna GTR. It also unveiled the 620R and McLaren Elva before launching the 765LT the following year.
In 2021, the company unveiled its all-new high-performance hybrid supercar, the McLaren Artura.
The Artura is the first McLaren to benefit from the McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture (MCLA). The MCLA is designed, developed and manufactured at the McLaren Composites Technology Centre in the Sheffield region of England using world-first processes and will spearhead the brand’s electrified future.
Most recently, it unveiled the lightest and most powerful series-production McLaren, the 750S.
McLaren Automotive also chooses to partner with like-minded, world-leading companies and organizations who push the boundaries in their respective fields. These include Ashurst, Bowers & Wilkins, Gulf, Pirelli, Plan International, Richard Mille and Tumi.
About McLaren Group:
The McLaren Group is a global leader in luxury automotive and elite motorsports with a focus on its Automotive supercar and Racing businesses.
Founded in 1963 by racer, engineer and entrepreneur Bruce McLaren, the Group is formed of McLaren Automotive, which hand-builds lightweight supercars; and a majority stake in McLaren Racing which competes in the Formula 1 World Championship and INDYCAR in the US.
The Group is globally headquartered at the iconic McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey, England.
With a reputation for innovation and technological excellence, McLaren is one of the UK’s largest independent companies.
… notes from SP