Niki Lauda’s Formula 1 McLarens Are Still Searingly Beautiful
Photography by Jeremy Cliff
Friend-of-Petrolicious photographer Jeremy Cliff recently had an assignment that most of us dream about: a private track day at the Circuit Of The Americas in Austin, Texas, starring three classic McLaren Formula 1 cars dripping in searing fluorescent “Marlboro” liveries. From hundreds of frames taken, these are our favorites.
The two newer Formula 1 cars were both assigned to Niki Lauda in period, over the 1983 and 1984 seasons. A mid-’70s McLaren was also on hand, driven by Emerson Fittipaldi both on the day Cliff was at the track and in 1970.
Against a slightly dreary sky, there’s no mistaking these machines for anything but the cutting-edge. As you’d expect, the newer McLaren MP4 derivatives, an MP4/1C and MP4/2, with an M23 from roughly a decade prior, made for quite the trackday trio. In period, they were all competitive machines, but as the seasons drew to a close, none had earned a Constructor’s Championship.
It’s probably for the best: cars that are really successful tend to not get the workout regime they deserve. Which of these ex-Formula 1 race cars would you have taken out of the garage first?
H/T to Jeremy Cliff