McLaren's 50th birthday film a moving one

By David Thomson on Sat, 9 Feb 2013

McLaren cars celebrates its 50th birthday this year, and is marking the occasion with three short films that aim to capture the essence of the Formula One and supercar company.

Those expecting images of high-tech cars and intense racing action may be surprised by the first film, which was released this week. Titled Courage, it features the ''ghost'' of company founder and Kiwi racing icon Bruce McLaren revisiting the site of the testing crash at England's Goodwood circuit which, in 1970 claimed his life.

The ghost - clad in period racing overalls - ruminates on his life and engineering ideas while walking to and inspecting the site of the crash, and concludes with the well-known Bruce McLaren quote: ''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 ...''

I have watched the film on the internet a few times now, and take my hat off to the McLaren company for being so daring, and to Swedish director Marcus Söderlund for his role in producing such a moving, effective short film. Definitely my viewing recommendation for the week. Search for ''McLaren courage'' and you should find the link.

Sticking with motor sport, but switching from the past to the present, there are two big events on in Australasia this weekend.

The first is the New Zealand Grand Prix (won by Bruce McLaren back in 1964, and by McLaren racing cars in 1970 and 1971). Run at Manfeild these days, for TRS single-seaters, the race is likely to feature last year's winner Nick Cassidy battling it out with visiting stars Lucas Auer (Austria), Félix Serrallés (Puerto Rico), Alex Lynn (UK) and Pipo Derani (Brazil).

The second is the Bathurst 12-hour enduro event, which will run from 7am to 7pm tomorrow. Once again, Otago will be represented at the race by Allan Dippie, who is teaming up with Southlander Scott O'Donnell and Cantabrian Gus McFarlane as an all-South Island combo for the 12-hour event.

Dippie has a great record in this demanding race, having finished seventh in 2011 and eighth last year.

Moving up to a Porsche 997 for the 2013 event, Dippie and his driving partners will be strong contenders for Class B GT3 honours, but he believes it will be more difficult than before to crack the top 10 overall.

That's because this year's event has attracted some really classy international drivers, many of them in top-flight Class A GT3 machines. They include two top ex-F1 drivers in Mika Salo and Ivan Capelli, current world touring car champion Rob Huff, and German touring car ace Bernd Schneider. A number of V8 supercar stars present and past are in the mix, too, including Craig Lowndes, Jason Bright, Steven Johnson, Steven Richards, Alex Davison, Greg Murphy, Craig Baird, and Shane van Gisbergen.

Van Gisbergen, incidentally, is teaming up with Brisbane-based Tony Quinn, who is the driving force behind the Highlands Motorsport park venture in Cromwell. Daniel Gaunt, Jonny Reid and Brendon Hartley are other prominent Kiwi racers on the card for the Bathurst event.

David Thomson