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  McLaren M26 Cosworth

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1976 - 1978
Numbers built:7
Designed by:Gordon Coppuck
Successor:McLaren M28 Cosworth
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:June 14, 2005
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAfter four glorious seasons the McLaren M23 was up for replacement in 1976. The old car's design had proven successful both in Formula 1 and at Indy, which explains why Gordon Coppuck designed the M26 much along the same lines. He put the M23 on an extensive diet to create a slimmer, lighter and more aerodynamically efficient racer. The chassis and suspension was almost identical in design to the old car, and, of course, the DFV engine was carried over.

Although the first M26 was ready in the summer of 1976, the team took their time to develop it. There was no rush, because James Hunt and the good old M23 were still fast enough to clinch the world title. When McLaren finally introduced the M26 in 1977, it proved to be an improvement over the M23, but not enough to again successfully take on the Ferraris. Coppuck's desire to slim the car down made it very fast on the straights, but slow in the corners because of the lack of downforce.

In the 1977 season Hunt did manage to score a couple of victories with the M26, but in 1978 the ground effects cars had completely taken over. Even though McLaren had now completely focused on Formula 1, the team failed to construct a competitive replacement for the M23/6, and lingered down the result sheets for most of the ground effects era.

The featured McLaren M26 is seen here in action in the Old Timer Grand Prix on the Nürburgring.

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  Article Image gallery (19) Specifications User Comments (1)