Open main menu

The McLaren M5A was a racing car constructed by Bruce McLaren Motor Racing, and was McLaren's first purpose-built Formula One car. Like its M4B predecessor, only one car of this type was ever built. The car was the first to use the BRM type 101 3.0 litre V12 engine, which produced 365 bhp.

McLaren M5A
Bonnier the at 1968 Dutch Grand Prix
CategoryFormula One
ConstructorBruce McLaren Motor Racing
Designer(s)Robin Herd
Technical specifications
ChassisAluminium monocoque
Suspension (front)Single top link with radius arm, lower wishbone, anti-roll bar and outboard coil spring/shock units
Suspension (rear)upper and lower wishbone, anti-roll bar and outboard coil spring/shock units
EngineBRM 2998cc V12 naturally aspirated Mid-engine, longitudinally mounted
TransmissionHewland 5-speed manual
Competition history
Notable entrantsBruce McLaren Motor Racing
Notable driversNew Zealand Bruce McLaren
New Zealand Denis Hulme
Sweden Jo Bonnier
Debut1967 Canadian Grand Prix
Constructors' Championships0
Drivers' Championships0

The M5A's first race was the rain-affected 1967 Canadian Grand Prix, and after an early spin McLaren worked his way up to fourth place, before a pit stop to change a flat battery caused by McLaren's decision not to use an alternator pushed him back down to seventh place at the end. At the next race in Italy McLaren qualified third, but broke two connecting rods while battling for fourth place and retired after 46 laps. the last two races of the season were no better, with McLaren retiring from both.

With McLaren missing the season-opening 1968 South African Grand Prix, reigning World Champion Denis Hulme took over the M5A, now painted orange rather than the original blood-red, and finished 2 laps adrift in fifth place.

Joakim Bonnier Racing TeamEdit

Swedish privateer Jo Bonnier bought the M5A to replace his ageing Cooper T81, and used it to take part in 7 more Grands Prix in 1968, as well as that year's Race of Champions, International Trophy and International Gold Cup meetings. His best result came in Italy, with sixth place, but by now it was clear that the car was becoming both unreliable and slow, so Bonnier retired the car and hung it on the wall of his art gallery.

The car was later repainted in its original colours and demonstrated in various historic races around the world. Sadly Sir Jack Brabham crashed the car heavily after a coming together with Jackie Oliver at the 1999 Goodwood Revival Meeting and had to be cut free from the car. The car has since been restored back to original condition.

Formula One World Championship resultsEdit

(key) (Results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Engine(s) Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 WDC Points
1967 Bruce McLaren Motor Racing BRM V12 G RSA MON NED BEL FRA GBR GER CAN ITA USA MEX 31 10th
Bruce McLaren 7 Ret Ret Ret
1968 Bruce McLaren Motor Racing BRM V12 G RSA ESP MON BEL NED FRA GBR GER ITA CAN USA MEX 3 10th
Denny Hulme 5
Joakim Bonnier Racing Team BRM V12 G Joakim Bonnier DNQ Ret 8 Ret 6 Ret NC PO

^1 This total includes points scored by the McLaren M4B used by McLaren earlier in the season.