On June 2nd, 47 years ago Bruce McLaren passed away. Only 32 years old, he was testing his latest Can-Am racer (the M8D) at Goodwood. Some of the bodywork failed at a high speed, causing a loss in downforce, the car lost traction and what ensued would shock the motorsport world. Instead of a moment of silence, what better way to celebrate his life than to fire up his final build, which is what McLaren has done in a video found below. The M8 series dominated the Can-Am series for years thanks to innovations in aerodynamics. But a slippery design wasn’t the only factor. The rear body work and some suspension parts are bolted directly to the engine to save weight. And what a monster motor it is.
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For the ultimate power in a light package, McLaren built a 7.62-liter all-aluminum 465ci Chevrolet big block. The legendary ZL1 engine was developed by Zora Duntov to make Corvette faster on the track, but only 2 Corvettes were built before the program was discovered by GM’s bean counters. The engines were sent to Penske and other racers, and to the Camaro plant where 69 Camaro ZL1‘s were built. Essentially everything behind the cockpit was bolted to an engine that weighed only 420 lbs. The fuel injected beast made 670 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque thanks to a 12:1 compression ratio. Fully loaded, the car weighed in at 1,398 lbs, which must be a blast to drive. He must be looking down with pride, as his legacy for innovation can be found in machines like the P1 GTR and the new 720S. So fire up your surround sound for a minute of noise. Stay with us for all your McLaren news.