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  Article Image gallery (28) M19A-2 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1971
Numbers built:2
Designed by:Ralph Bellamy for McLaren
Predecessor:McLaren M14A Cosworth
Successor:McLaren M19C Cosworth
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 04, 2009
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWhile McLaren dominated the North American Can-Am Challenge, their results in single seater racing back in Europe were mediocre at best. In Formula 1 the British based company faced a number of highly specialized manufacturers the likes Lotus, Tyrrell and Ferrari. A 'new' car was introduced for 1970, but on close inspection it proved to be nothing more than an evolution of the M7 that first raced back in 1968. These evolutionary racing cars had worked well for McLaren in Can-Am, but the strong competition in Europe required more effort.

While chief engineer Gordon Coppuck spent most of his time on the Indy car project, Ralph Bellamy set out to design McLaren first all new Formula 1 racer in years. Dubbed the M19, it featured a destinctive 'coke bottle' shape. Under the fiberglass skin an aluminium monocoque was hidden to which the fully exposed Cosworth DFV engine was bolted as a fully stressed member. The 1971 'A' version of the M19 was equipped with a new rising rate suspension, but for various reasons it never worked well. On the 'C' variant first raced in 1972 a more conventional suspension was fitted.

In the 1971 season opener at Kyalami, South Africa, Denny Hulme was just four laps away from victory when the rear suspension failed on his M19. He did manage to bring the car home in sixth, leaving McLaren with mixed feelings. Throughout the season the M19 proved to be quick, but fragile and a podium finish in Canada for Roger Penske's privately entered and Mark Donohue driven M19 was the best result. Another big change for the team was the introduction of Yardley sponsorship, which meant that the cars were no longer painted in the traditional bright orange.

Denny Hulme repeated his South African performance in 1972, and this time his M19A cooperated to score McLaren's first Grand Prix victory since Bruce McLaren crossed the line first in his M7A at Spa in 1968. Although this was the only win of the season, a number of podium finishes was enough for McLaren to claim third in the Constructor's Championship behind Lotus and Tyrrell, but ahead of Ferrari. The cars were used in the opening rounds of the 1973, before being replaced by the M23. Based on the Coppuck Indy car design, this McLaren F1 racer would improve on the M19's performance with 16 victories and two driver's titles before it was retired.

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  Article Image gallery (28) M19A-2 Specifications