You see where the story’s heading: step-by-step to the top. Of course there were
missteps. A revamped, rebodied M1B was
successful during 1965 and the early part of
’ 66, but the fall brought stiffer competition.
The Canadian-American Challenge Cup,
Can-Am for short, brought previously
independent North American pro races
together into a big-paying championship,
and everybody wanted to win it.
Bruce and his very fast teammate, fellow
Kiwi Chris Amon, showed strong speed, but
in all six races that first year, rival carmakers
Lola (five wins) and Chaparral (one) beat
the McLarens to the checkers.
McLaren was mortified. For the 1967
Can-Am, he pulled together every lesson
about car-building that he’d been learning
while racing GT40s for Ford (he and Amon
won Le Mans in ’ 66), testing tires for
The two lengths of inlet trumpet on
the M8F’s Chevy V8 give four of the
cylinders a different torque curve
from the other four. With careful
tuning of each, the cumulative
effect was a more linear and
driveable power band.