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Built in:Poole, England
Produced from:1972 - 1973
Numbers built:14
Designed by:Len Terry and Graham McRae
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:February 01, 2019
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Click here to download printer friendly versionNew Zealand-born Graham McRae was a university trained engineer, who built his first racing car long before making his debut behind the wheel, in 1968. As it turned out, he had a knack for driving as well and racing a wide variety of machinery, he became one of the leading drivers in New Zealand and Australia. He won the 1970 New Zealand Gold Star Cup racing a F5000 Begg and then in 1971, he clinched the Tasman Cup in a McLaren M10B.

For the 1972 season, McRae decided to combine his talents to replace the successful M10B he had destroyed at a Hockenheimring F5000 race late in 1971. He joined forces with Malcolm Bridgeland to help develop his company's new Leda LT27. The basic design for the new F5000 machine had been laid down by Len Terry, who also penned the earlier Leda cars. Terry designed the car following the instructions of McRae.

The car itself was a straightforward F5000 racer built around an aluminium monocoque. As per McRae's wishes, the chassis featured a coke-bottle shape just like the contemporary McLaren Formula 1 cars. Suspension was by double wishbones at the front and a multi-link layout at the back where the disc brakes were mounted in-board. Like most leading F5000 cars of the day, the new LT27 was powered by a Chevrolet V8, mated to a Hewland five-speed gearbox.

McRae himself always referred to the new car as the McRae GM1 but the first five examples built in the Poole, England factory were officially still known as Leda LT27s. During the 1972 season Bridgeland was bought out by McRae's insurance broker John Heynes and the company was officially renamed McRae Cars ltd. In addition to the car raced by McRae himself, no fewer than 14 examples of the LT27/GM1 were built during 1972 and 1973.

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  Article Image gallery (35) Chassis (4) Specifications