Page 1 of 2 Next >> Following in the footsteps of his former team-mate and mentor, Jack Brabham, the versatile 'Kiwi' Bruce McLaren established his own racing car company halfway through the 1960s. While Bruce McLaren Motor Racing (BMMR) quickly found success in sports car racing, the first forays into Formula 1 proved more difficult. The simple reason was the lack of a competitive engine to power the first McLaren single seaters.
In 1966, the team had tried Ford and Serenissima V8s with little luck but for 1967 secured a potentially more competitive motor in the newly designed BRM V12. At that time, BRM still focused its own efforts on the complicated H16, and had intended the V12 to be used for sports car racing. McLaren recognised the broader potential of the twelve-cylinder unit and set about about developing a new car. Due to the late arrival of the engine, McLaren started the 1967 season with a modified F2 racer, powered by a 2.1-litre BRM V8.
Designed by Robin Herd, the new McLaren M5A was a wholly conventional single seater, and effectively an enlarged version of the M4 F2 car. The M5A was built around a full length aluminium monocoque with steel bulkhead. Housed inside the chassis were the fuel tanks, in compartments on either side of the driver and above the feet. Suspension at the front was through double wishbones, while the rear-end consisted of reversed lower wishbones, links and trailing arms.
The delayed BRM V12 engine was also a straightforward design that had been penned for reliability rather than top-end power. The all-aluminium unit featured twin-overhead camshafts, two valves per cylinder and Lucas fuel injection. Displacing just shy of the three-litre limit, the BRM V12 was good for around 375 bhp. The new engine was mounted inside the full-length 'tub', and mated to a Hewland-sourced, five-speed gearbox. Page 1 of 2 Next >>