The 1969 season saw the Canadian American Challenge expand to an eleven race series, the most run in any year of the challenge, but only the McLaren Cars Team cars with New Zealanders Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme recorded wins. Bruce won six of the races driving his McLaren M8B and with Denny recording the remaining five.
For 1970 McLaren Cars updated the M8B to a design known as the M8D while offering a production version of the M8B built by Trojan known as the M8C, of the type featured today. Confusingly Trojan also built 15 McLaren M12’s featuring updated M6 chassis running with M8 size wheels and adapted M8 bodywork in 1969. The most successful exponent of the customer M8C in the 1970 Can Am Challenge was Canadian Roger McCaig who recorded 3 5th place finishes and an eventual 10th place in the 1970 Challenge standings.
Lothar Motschenbacher who drove one of the 1969 Mclaren M8B’s, a 1969 McLaren M12 and an M8C during the 1970 Can Am Challenge recorded one 5th place in his M8C at the last race of the season to finish a distant 2nd in the 1970 Can Am Challenge, to Denny Hulme who won 6 of the ten 1970 Can Am races in his M8D to secure his second Can Am Championship.
According to the Bruce McLaren Trust website Trojan built 15 M8C’s which were also raced in Europe and South American series. The Ford Cosworth DFV powered M8C driven by Chris Craft won the 1970 Swedish Grand Prix run for sports cars including a couple of Porsche 917K’s.
The most successful McLaren M8C appears to have been chassis #70-08 which was driven to three victories in Argentina by; Nasif Estéfano at Buenos Aeries in April 1971, Carlos Pairetti at Buenos Aeries in August 1971 and Osvaldo López at San Martin in March 1973. The car was listed on each occasion as being powered by a Ford motor.
The only other in period victory recorded for an M8C is the Chevrolet example driven by Siegfried Rieger at Hockenheim in November 1971, his car featured an M12 chassis with M8C bodywork.
The last ‘in period’ race recorded for any M8C, thought to be for today’s featured car M8C #30-25, was driven by Richard Dotkins at an Interserie event run at Zolder in August 1992, where the car finished 6th in Heat 2. Since then #30-25, which would never have run in the works McLaren Traffic Yellow colour scheme as seen here, is thought to have recorded at least 5 race victories in sundry (primarily classic/historic) events through the 1990’s; 2 by Richard Dotkins, 2 by Richard Eyre and 1 by Geoff Farmer.
The #30 series chassis number of the car would more normally be associated with a space/tube frame Trojan built McLaren M1B. The history of McLaren M1B #30-25 is, like the history of M8C/D #30-25 prior to 1992, also unknown at the time of writing.
The car featured to day was seen at Race Retro and is raced by Harry Reed.
My thanks to raceanouncer2003, Belmondo, David McKinney and Duncan Fox at The Nostalgia Forum for their help in identifying today’s car and it’s history.
Thanks for joining me on this “Traffic Light Yellow Customer Racer” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Can Am BRM. Don’t forget to come back now !