Journal: Niki Lauda’s Formula 1 McLarens Are Still Searingly Beautiful

Niki Lauda’s Formula 1 McLarens Are Still Searingly Beautiful

By Petrolicious Productions
July 14, 2016

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

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ashwin kumar
ashwin kumar
8 months ago

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Ken Clark
Ken Clark
4 years ago

Beautiful cars, both of them. Pure mechanical machines throughout. Today’s cars are ugly by comparison, with all the aero appendages sticking out everywhere.

Douglas Anderson
Douglas Anderson
5 years ago

Oh look, a steering wheel that a normal human can understand. No pit box radio conversations needed or wanted 🙂

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
5 years ago

Yes, indeed.

I made a watercolour painting of that car back in 1987 or 1988 and am finally going to frame it. Better late than never, I guess.