Bruce McLaren in the cockpit of his McLaren MC7 Ford in Monaco in 1969, taking direction from his wife Patty. (Photo courtesy McLaren Motorsports)
With a racing history that includes five consecutive Can-Am Challenge Cup series wins between 1967 and 1971, 12 Formula 1 world championships, three Indianapolis 500 titles and a victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, McLaren Racing will be inducted into the International Category of the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame at a gala black tie dinner in advance of the 2020 Canadian International AutoShow.
Retired racer Johnny Rutherford, who drove Team McLaren cars to two of its three Indy 500 victories (Mark Donohue won McLaren’s third Indy championship), will attend to accept the honour on behalf of the manufacturer.
Also attending the gala will be Ross Brawn, Formula One managing director of motorsports and technical director, and sports car racing star Townsend Bell, who will be special Master of Ceremonies.
In partnership with the Hall of Fame, the AutoShow will present a special exhibit celebrating McLaren with a display that will include some of the most famous cars it has put on the track since the company was founded 50 years ago.
“Auto racing has become an important fixture at the AutoShow in recent years, with special exhibits celebrating Formula 1 and IndyCar,” says Jason Campbell, General Manager of the AutoShow. “McLaren has a strong and storied racing history, and we have some exciting cars to showcase in conjunction with their induction into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in the International category.”
Among the McLaren Racing vehicles that will be part of the exhibit:
- 1969 McLaren M6/B as raced by Mario Andretti
- 1974 M23 driven by Emerson Fittipaldi
- 2020 720S McLaren GT3, owned by Compass Racing’s Karl Thomson of Richmond Hill
- 1972 M16 — The first McLaren to win the Indy 500, driven by Mark Donohue
The McLaren Racing exhibit will be on the 100 level of the North Building in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. However, there will also be a significant McLaren presence on the 800 level of the South Building in the relocated and reimagined Pfaff Automotive McLaren display.
Instead of taking up its usual place in Auto Exotica, Pfaff has moved to the main show floor with a display that will include the McLaren 720S Spider, the GT, Senna and 600LT MSO.
Rutherford, of Fort Worth, Tex., who is known throughout the racing world as “Lone Star J.R.,” after the state flag, continues to represent McLaren as an ambassador and a spokesman for the sport in general. As well, he is a talented announcer and racing analyst – something that came about literally by accident.
While racing a sprint car on a dirt speedway in Ohio in 1966, Rutherford was involved in a spectacular accident in which both of his arms were broken. Unable to race in that year’s Indy 500, he made his debut as a commentator on the closed-circuit TV broadcast of the race and a secondary career was born. But he returned to racing in 1967 and was a winner on the track, in the boardroom and at public-speaking podiums until he retired in 1994.
Brawn, an engineer, was technical director for Benetton and Ferrari and is credited with being the mastermind behind Michael Schumacher’s seven world championships. He bought the Honda F1 team and formed Brawn GP, going on to win both the F1 constructors and driver’s championships in 2009 with Jenson Button.
After selling Brawn GP to Mercedes, he stayed on as Team Principal before retiring in 2014. But like most talented people, he couldn’t sit still for long and, since 2017, he’s held his current positions with Formula One Management.
Brawn will be a guest when the AutoShow presents a special Press Conference earlier on February 12th to welcome Montreal promoter Francois Dumontier, who will discuss this year’s Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix, which will be held June 12 to 14th. Brawn, Dumontier and Rutherford will be available for interviews during a media availability session on February 12.
The gala marks the first of a three-year partnership in which the AutoShow will host the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony. While McLaren will be inducted during the pre-show black-tie celebration , the remaining members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2020 will be honoured during the AutoShow on Saturday, February 15, from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. in the John Bassett Theatre on the 100 level of the North Building in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Racing fans and members of the public can buy tickets to the induction ceremony, which includes admission to the AutoShow on February 15th, here. For more information on the 2020 induction ceremony, visit http://www.cmhf.ca.