Before the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 19, 1969 Bruce McLaren (left) and Denny Hulme discuss the rear wing on one of their McLaren M7As. Hulme was on the outside of the front row of the grid which he shared with Jochen Rindt’s Lotus 49, og pole, and Jackie Stewart’s Matra MS80 while McLaren had qualified in the middle of the third row. Other than the cars from Ferrari and BRM which had their own motors everyone else was using the ubiquitous yet highly effective Cosworth DFV. Stewart almost set pole time, but arrived at the sweeping Woodcote Corner flat out to find a piece of concrete on the line which sent him into the outside bank, fortunately without injury. He then set his time in the car of his teammate Jean-Pierre Beltoise.
In the race itself, Stewart had a long fight with Rindt until Rindt had a wing problem which necessitated a pit stop. At the finish Stewart was a lap up to the rest of the field. McLaren came home third while Hulme retired with an enigine problem after 27 laps of the 84 lap race. The McLaren duo soldiered on for a difficult Grand Prix season until Hulme won the season’s finale Mexican Grand Prix in decisive fashion in October.
Of course, the McLaren drivers had rather more success across the Atlantic and had just returned from their third straight 1-2 finish in the new Canadian-American Challenge Cup series, where they were driving McLaren’s untouchable M8B-Chevrolets. The two McLarens were absolutely dominant in CanAm racing in 1969. After Bruce McLaren’s tragic death in 1970, McLaren Cars, led by Hulme, would continue to be the class of the CanAm field for another two years.
Photo by Nigel Snowdon ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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