Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme won so often
that the Can-Am races were referred to as
‘The Bruce and Denny show’.
Bruce McLaren was a designer and racing driver from New Zealand and founder of one the most successful racing teams of all time: the McLaren Formula 1 team. Thanks to Jack Brabham he got the chance to start in Jack’s Formula 2 team. After a win at the German Grand Prix in 1958, he was promoted to Formula 1. At 22 years of age he was at the time the youngest Formula 1 driver ever. In spite of his successful career he wanted to have his own team and developed a promising chassis. But is wasn’t until Cosworth stepped in with Ford engines that they began to be successful.
This was also the moment Denny Hulme joined the team. This gruff New Zealander soon felt at home with McLaren, racing as ‘two Kiwis against the rest of the world’. In addition to Formula 1, Bruce and Denny also took part in Can-Am races. These tremendously popular ‘Canadian-American’ races were soon nicknamed ‘The Bruce and Denny Show’. It was a popular tagline for newspaper reporters at the time, as together, Bruce and Denny won every race in the 1969 season in their huge orange Group 7 sportscars. Bruce McLaren was Can-Am champion in 1967 and 1969 and Denny Hulme in 1968 and 1970. Over a period of 5 years they together managed to win a total of 38 races. An unprecedented achievement and a record that stands to this day.
On 2 June 1970 tragedy struck for Bruce McLaren. While test-driving a Can-Am car at the Goodwood Circuit in England the car spun, hitting a concrete bunker at high speed, killing Bruce McLaren. Denny Hulme remained faithful to the McLaren team until the end of his career and retired in 1974. However, Denny died at the wheel of a BMW Touring Car during a race in Bathurst, 18 years later.
The M8F is one of the most successful and extreme Can-Am racing cars. The angular, aerodynamic edges on the sides are typical of this very wide car, built specifically for the effectively limitless Can-Am series. The car is fitted with an 8.1 litre Chevrolet V8 engine that delivers almost 750 hp. It is the most important model in a series of practically invincible racing cars which, in the hands of driver, constructor and team-owner Brice McLaren and his team-mate Denny Hulme, dominated the Can-Am series in the late 1960s.