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Driving Bruce McLaren's Iconic Can-Am Car

8th February 2013

As Rob enters his second season with McLaren, he has found there are a few extra unexpected 'perks' to his role as McLaren GT factory driver.

Rob is currently preparing for another season of duties with McLaren, working with the marque on development of its GT race model. His association with this great British race and road car company has already given him a special moment this season, when he was given the privilege of driving Bruce McLaren's M8D CanAm sportscar at the recent unveiling of the 2013 Formula 1 challenger. At the F1 launch event the team kicked off a year of 50th anniversary celebrations with a spectacular parade of classic racing cars running around the perimeter of the McLaren Technology Centre, led by Rob in the M8D.
He said of this unique opportunity, "It was an honour and a privilege to drive the M8D, the last car that Bruce McLaren ever drove. I don't think I'll ever forget the noise, it was unreal! I don't often get the chance to drive such superb historic machinery, so to get behind the wheel of this car will live with me for a long while. It was probably even more special because of the film that was released on the same day at the F1 launch and centred on this very car, and because I drove it at the MTC in Woking for the 2013 F1 car launch."

The first of three specially commissioned short films was launched at the event, depicting the McLaren brand in a way never seen before as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations.

Instead of focusing on the high-tech, high-octane world of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team, or even the Group's new Automotive division and its groundbreaking 12C and McLaren P1™, the short film sheds light on McLaren's very human back-story – namely that of Bruce McLaren, who founded his racing team five decades ago.

Directed sensitively by Marcus Söderlund, a leading music-video maker from Sweden, the short film forms part one of the 50th anniversary trilogy following the ghost of Bruce McLaren as he retraces the scene of his crash at the Goodwood circuit in 1970 – the crash that took his life at the tragically young age of 32. Shot in Söderlund's trademark, dreamlike state, it is accompanied by a spine-tingling Bruce McLaren monologue, ending poignantly with the words:

"…What might be seen as a tragic end was in fact a beginning. As I always said, to do something well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy. Indeed, life is not measured in years alone but in achievement..."

Marcus Söderlund said: "This is Bruce McLaren's film. I love that Bruce McLaren is revisiting his crash-site, like an angel from a Frank Capra movie. The script for this film made me shiver and I wanted to recreate that feeling. I wanted to fill the film with emotions. I am obsessed with gestures. These things that reveal who we are and the physical spaces that we inhabit. Films can change the way you look at the world by showing you how another person sees it. This is how I imagine that Bruce McLaren looked at the world."

Click here to view the gallery of Rob driving the McLaren M8D