The McLaren Racing team was honoured with an induction into the International Category of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame at a special gala on the eve of the 2020 Canadian International AutoShow’s Media Preview Day. Johnny Rutherford, who drove McLaren Racing to two of its three Indy 500 victories, accepted the honour on the team’s behalf. (Photo by Marcus Oleniuk, Canadian International AutoShow)
TORONTO, ON, February, 12, 2020. — On the eve of the 2020 Canadian International AutoShow’s manufacturer Media Preview Day, Canada’s automotive, collector and motor racing community came together to help celebrate one of its iconic brands as one of North America’s premier auto shows prepares to put its best foot forward with the latest and greatest the market has to offer.

At its height, the Can-AM Challenge Cup was among the leading racing series in North America. And during its rise to prominence, it was dominated by McLaren Racing. It introduced the McLaren M6A specifically for the Can-AM Series, which Bruce McLaren drove to the 1967 series championship, It was the first of five consecutive series wins for the McLaren Racing team — Denny Hulme in a McLaren M8A in 1968, McLaren in a McLaren M8B in 1969, Hulme in 1970 in a McLaren M8D and Peter Revson in a McLaren M8F in 1971. Add in 12 Formula 1 world championships, three Indianapolis 500 titles and a victory in the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans, and it is a resume fit for a hall of fame. 

At a gala black tie dinner on February 12th, McLaren Racing was inducted into the International Category of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame. The honour was accepted on behalf of the McLaren Racing team by retired driver Johnny Rutherford, who raced Team McLaren cars to two of its Indy 500 victories. 

“On behalf of everyone at McLaren Racing, we are humbled to accept this honour,” said Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing. “McLaren has deep, strong roots in Canadian and North American motorsport, where our first major achievements in Can-AM and then IndyCar laid the groundwork for the decades of racing success that have followed. This is a fitting way to begin commemorating the 50th anniversary year of Bruce McLaren’s passing and also the 50th anniversary of our first entry into IndyCar, as we return to the series full-time this year. With that in mind, there is no better ambassador to represent McLaren at this event than Johnny ‘Lone Star JR’ Rutherford, whose illustrious successes in IndyCar are part of the very fabric of the team.”

 Also attending the gala celebrating McLaren’s induction was Ross Brawn, Formula One managing director of motorsports and technical director, and sports car racing star Townsend Bell, who was Master of Ceremonies.

In partnership with the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, the 2020 Canadian International AutoShow is presenting a special exhibit at this year’s show celebrating the history of McLaren racing, showcasing some of its most famous cars. 
Among the cars: 1961 Cooper T55 — At 22 years of age, Bruce McLaren joined the Cooper Factory Formula 1 team and subsequently won the United States Grand Prix, becoming the youngest Grand Prix winner at the time. He drove this car throughout the 1961 season Grand Prix season. 1969 McLaren M6B — The McLaren marque was all but synonymous with the near-unlimited Can-Am series in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. The M6B was the McLaren customer-car, sold to non-works competitors. This example – one of just a few not powered by a Chevrolet engine – was prepared for Ford by Holman and Moody of NASCAR and Le Mans fame and driven by Mario Andretti. Dubbed the “429’er,” to promote Ford’s 429 production engine, it was powered by an experimental 494-cubic-inch (8.1- litre)monster.1971 McLaren M8E/F — The ultimate development of McLaren’s successful Can-Am racers, it has a lengthened and strengthened chassis, 17-inch wide rear wheels and revised aerodynamics. The intakes were staggered to smooth out power delivery and the combined effects of the 1,520-pound curb weight and 8.3-litre engine were nothing short of spectacular. 1972 McLaren M-16B — Mark Donohue paced McLaren to its first Indy 500 win in this car, powered by a 159-inch turbocharged Offenhauser engine. Built at McLaren’s Colnbrook factory in the U.K. the M-16B was raced in the U.S. and Canada by McLaren and Penske. Bobby Unser raised the Indianapolis single-lap average speed from 179 mph in 1971 to 196 mph just one year later. Donohue, who started third, qualified with a four-lap average of 191.408 mph and he went on to establish a new average speed record for 500 miles at 162.962 mph, a record that stood for 12 years.1975 McLaren M-16E — After a stirring victory in the 1974 Indianapolis 500 with Johnny Rutherford in the M16D, team McLaren built a new version of the car — the M16E. The car was sponsored by sports drink Gatorade and the familiar Team McLaren Papaya orange was replaced by a distinctive green-and-white livery. Johnny Rutherford qualified this car in seventh position for the ”500” and led five laps, ultimately finishing second to Bobby Unser when rain shortened the race at the 174thlap.  Rutherford ran the car at several other races in 1975, including a victory at Phoenix later that same year.1974 McLaren M23 — The Texaco-Marlboro McLaren superteam came to be in 1974, with Emerson Fittipaldi behind the wheel of this car. He put it through prolonged winter testing, which led to a longer wheelbase and wider track. Historic racer Willie Green calle the M23 “easily the best” of the 1970s Formula 1 machines, with good aerodynamics that greatly reduced buffeting in the cockpit at high speeds. 
The Canadian International AutoShow takes place February 14th to 23rd, 2020, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. For more information or to buy tickets, please visit


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