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

Niki Lauda’s Formula 1 McLarens Are Still Searingly Beautiful

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
July 14, 2016
3 comments

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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Ken ClarkDouglas AndersonChristopher Gay Recent comment authors
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Ken Clark
Ken Clark

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

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

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay

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.