For a youthful 26 year old, the lure of winning your own country’s premier motor race in a car of your own design must have been overwhelming. For Bruce McLaren, the introduction of the Tasman Series, incorporating not only the New Zealand GP, but also the Australian GP, would speed his transition from accomplished driver to constructor, and launch a name that remains in Formula 1 today.
Bruce McLaren started racing at age 16 in an Austin 7 Ulster before moving on to a Ford 10 Special. In 1954, Bruce’s father Les bought a 1953 Austin-Healey 100 and ran it in the 1955 NZ International Grand Prix at Ardmore. During the following year Bruce ran the car in a sports car race supporting the 1956 NZIGP at Ohakea and recorded faster times than his father. He was soon promoted to lead driver in the family Austin-Healey and repeated his success many times over the next couple of years.
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