I think it is easy for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere to underestimate the global racing contributions of our southern brothers. Only the most knowledgeable northern enthusiasts know about such antipodean series like the Tasman Series, yet even the most ardent anoraks from the north will likely not realize that the first Tasman series, in 1964, touched off a chain of events that would forever change the modern landscape of racing in the United States and Europe.
As you’ll read in further detail in this month’s Racecar Profile, the announcement of a series of winter races in Australia and New Zealand in 1964 captured the imagination of a young driver/mechanic named Bruce McLaren. Not able to convince his employer, old man Cooper, of the sense in building a bespoke 2.5-liter car for an obscure race series halfway around the Earth, McLaren at least managed to convince Cooper’s son to let him build his own car, on the sly, in his off hours. The result of this seemingly benign decision was the genesis of the global racing juggernaut that would become McLaren Cars.