McLaren launches MP4-28 in great style at MTC
McLaren did its founder the late great Bruce McLaren proud at the launch of the new 2013 F1 challenger designated MP4-28 at the MTC in Woking today. Bruce founded McLaren in 1963 and went on to win the teams first Formula 1 victory at the Belgian Grand Prix at the 'real' Spa Franchorchamps circuit on June 9th 1968. There was a very emotional short film about Bruce explaining his beliefs, some of his history and ending with an actor playing him being filmed walking along the circuit at Goodwood picking up pieces of wreckage from his CanAm McLaren M8D and pondering the crash scene. He was killed in the M8D at Goodwood on 2nd June 1970 when a section of bodywork came loose causing him to lose control and crash heavily into a marshalls post at the end of the Levant Straight. He was a mere 32 years of age when he died. Very moving images.
On to the launch programme itself which was presented by Sky Sports F1 's Natalie Pinkham. Following the short film the audience was asked to look out over the lake in front of the MTC and was greeted by the sight of a bright orange CanAm McLaren M8D, the very model Bruce was killed in, which was very noisily driven into the auditorium and past the assembled media. This was followed by other successful McLaren cars including the M23 in Texaco Marlboro livery, a car that was driven for six seasons, recording sixteen wins and two World Championship titles, the first in 1974 driven by Emerson Fittipaldi and the second in 1976 driven by James Hunt. Next up was the iconic McLaren MP4-4 a car that won fifteen of sixteen Grand Prix in 1998 in the hands of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. McLarens fastest road car was next to be driven through and the F1 designed by Gordon Murray was the winner of the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1995 and is still the fastest normally aspirated car in the world today. The Mercedes powered MP4-13 was next, this was the car driven to success by double F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard, winning the drivers and constructors titles for McLaren in 1998. Finally the MP4-23 was driven in. This was the car that took Lewis Hamilton to the title in 2008.
Fantastic build up so far and still no sheet removed from the MP4-28. Then two more cars appear, the first one is a McLaren MP4-12C Spyder driven by Sergio Perez and this was followed by the new McLaren P1 in stunning circuit outline livery and driven by Jenson Button. It was the first time the P1 had been seen in public and is the car that McLaren aspires to make the best drivers car on road and track.
So with the drivers out of the cars and after some discussion and banter with Natalie Pinkham it was time to reveal the MP4-28. The sheet was removed and the car unveiled, with the initial impression being that it bore a striking resemblance to its predecessor with thankfully no sign of the unpopular stepped nose featured on competitor cars in 2012. Both drivers emphasised that although the car looked familiar it was a very different machine under the skin and both were clearly eager to get behind the wheel. After a few further questions the drivers were whisked away for media briefings and the on-line show was over.
Noticeable by their absence was any other member of the McLaren Management Team and so no online technical content was available or questions asked. this will no doubt appear in volumes over the coming days. This was certainly a launch to remember and McLaren did it in style, it will take some topping!