McLaren Special Operations Launches ‘Racing Through the Ages’ six-car collection
Each of the three colors evokes a period in McLaren’s racing historyby Michael Fira, on
McLaren, the car company founded by Bruce McLaren of New Zealand in the ’60s as a racing car manufacturer and motorsports outfit, continues to celebrate its storied past with six evocative McLaren 570S models - three coupes and three cabriolets. These cars, commisioned by Mclaren of Beverly Hills and built by McLaren Special Operations, showcase three key periods in McLaren’s racing history.
Each of the three periods is presented on a 570S Coupe and a570S Spider that share the same exterior color. There’s the ’Muriwai Theme’ that harkens back to Bruce McLaren’s early racing exploits, the ’Papaya Spark Theme’ which recalls the days of the orange racing McLarens in the ’60s and ’70s, and the ’Sarthe Gray Theme’ that’s a tribute to McLaren’s overall victory at Le Mans back in 1995.
The six cars are available through the Beverly Hills McLaren dealer
McLaren Special Operations, the team that is available at any hour if you wish to have a special McLaren of your own, is at it again. This time, the commision comes the way of McLaren of Beverly Hills, one of the world’s biggest McLaren dealers. Its request was of six 570S models painted in three different colors, each belonging to a theme.
Each of the six 570S cars come with a GT4-style tri-color stripe across the length of the hood and roof as well as a fixed rear wing at the back.
The 10-spoke forged wheels are painted black, and the models also received the MSO Defined Black pack and the MSO titanium exhaust. On the inside, you’ll find the same GT4 stripe as well as an orange stripe on the top of the steering wheel. There’s a plaque inside every car to signal to everyone that they’re part of the ’Racing Through the Ages’ series.
The first theme is called ’Muriwai,’ and it’s inspired by Bruce McLaren’s early days racing in native New Zealand. The white paint that adorns the two cars that are part of this theme is named after the beach where McLaren ran his first race at age 15. Muriwai was also the name of the house he later built in Woking, which he painted white with blue shutters, according to McLaren Automotive. The cars feature the ’Speedy Kiwi’ logo on the endplates of the wing.
The 'Papaya Spark' theme is representative of the early McLaren racing cars, as well as the company's latest F1 single-seaters.
While the first McLarens ever built, such as the M1A sports car, were painted red, McLaren soon became synonymous with that vivid Papaya Orange paintwork. One of the first cars to wear this famous color was the McLaren M6A-Chevrolet that was used during the 1967 season of the Canadian-American Challenge Cup. It was, coincidentally, the first year of what would become known as the ’Bruce and Denny Show’ that lasted until 1971.
The ’Show’ was, basically, the complete annihilation of the Can-Am competition by Team McLaren which won every title in those five years. Bruce himself became series champion in 1967 before Denny Hulme won the crown in 1968. Bruce got the laurels back in 1969 and, again, Denny returned to the top of the rostrum in 1970. The last McLaren title run in Can-Am’s history was achieved by Peter Revson, the heir of the Revlon company who also raced, and won, for McLaren in Formula 1.
The orange color also covered the bodywork of the first McLaren F1 car to win a world championship grand prix. It was Bruce McLaren who pulled this feat, with luck plainly on his side, at the 1968 Belgian GP driving the M7A. Denny Hulme followed that up with back-to-back wins in Italy and Canada and another win, in 1969, at the Mexican GP.
By the time McLaren returned to the top of the podium, the Papaya Orange had been dropped in favor of a paint scheme dictated by the team's main sponsor, Yardley.
What is more, the classic orange colors stood proudly on Johnny Rutherford’s Indianapolis 500-winning McLaren M16C. It wasn’t McLaren’s first win at the Brickyard, Mark Donohue having won two years prior in a Penske-entered chassis, but it was the first for the works team which returned to the victory lane in 1976 wearing those famous colors for the last time.
As is the case with the other two themes, the ’Papaya Spark’ 570S cars feature the same MSO add-ons while the endplates of the wings are painted in Burton Blue with ’Papaya Spark’ written on them. The last theme is the ’Sarthe Gray’ one that looks back at McLaren’s one and only triumph at Le Mans.
You may remember the McLaren 720S ’Stealth Theme’, another car built by MSO as a tribute to the company’s 1995 overall win in the French endurance classic. Like that 720S, the two 570S commisioned by McLaren of Beverly Hills are also painted in Sarthe Gray while the rear wing endplates feature the ’24 Heures Du Mans - 1995 Winners’ lettering in white. For the record, while the F1 GTR that won crushed the opposition in the GT1 class, it was by no means a dominant victory as the second-placed LMP1 Courage C36-Porsche finished barely a lap down.
In any case, the success of J.J. Lehto, Masanori Seiya, and Yannick Dalmas will forever be etched in the history books.
It’s also amazing to think that McLaren is the only company to win on its debut and that particular car, chassis #01R, never raced again after winning Le Mans. It also never raced before the great race in June of 1995, only appearing during the official pre-qualifying session in April of that year when it was driven by Pierre-Henri Raphanel and Yannick Dalmas. The car, prepared in period by Lanzante Motorsport, is now part of McLaren’s collection and it was most recently driven by double world champion Mika Hakkinen during the Monterey Historics this year.
As a final note, we don’t know how much these cars cost and if McLaren of Beverly Hills will hold on to any (or all?) of them for showcase purposes.
Read our full review on the 2016 McLaren 570S Coupe.
Read our full review on the 2016 McLaren 570S Spider.
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Read our full review on the 2019 McLaren Senna.
Read our full review on the 2019 McLaren Speedtail.