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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1973 - 1977
Numbers built:13
Designed by:Gordon Coppuck for McLaren
Predecessor:McLaren M19C Cosworth
Successor:McLaren M26 Cosworth
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 12, 2016
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIn an era when most racing car manufacturers chose to focus on one or two series only, McLaren ran their cars with great success in four major championships; Formula 1, Can-Am, F5000 and Indy. The general conception was that individual campaigns would suffer if a manufacturer ran in multiple championships simultaneously McLaren on the other hand proved them wrong and used the various programs to their advantage. In a period of less than five years, the team won the three of the aforementioned championships and the Indy 500.

In 1973 one of the last hurdles to tackle was winning the Formula 1 world championship. Although McLaren campaigned in F1 from 1966, it did not fare any better than the odd win. Making the most out of their unique situation, McLaren combined the monocoque of the 1972 Indy 500 winning M16B and the suspension of the M19 F1 racer to create one of the most successful F1 cars ever constructed. Responsible for the overall design was Gordon Coppuck.

Some modifications had to be carried through to convert the M16B for F1 use. The Offenhauser Indy engine needed a subframe to support the rear suspension, the Cosworth DFV engine on the other hand could be used as a fully stressed member with the suspension bolted directly on it. The suspension was modified to suit the road tracks compared to the oval-track the Indy 500 is run on. One of the biggest visible differences was the addition of a large airbox to force air into the engine intakes.

Livered in Yardley colours, the M23 made its debut in the third race of the 1973 reason. Denny Hulme promptly qualified it on pole and he did so again in the next race. Seven races into the season, he scored the car's maiden victory. In the remainder of the year his team mate Peter Revson scored another two victories, which was good enough for McLaren to finish third in the constructor's championship behind champions Lotus and Tyrrell. Revson and Hulme finished fifth and sixth in the championship.

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  Article Image gallery (210) Chassis (11) Specifications