Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Three Time Winner - McLaren Offy M16

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The McLaren M16 was designed by Gordon Coppuck in 1970 and took essential design queues from the Lotus 72, that was dominant in Formula One, including the chisel nose and side mounted radiators.

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On it's Indy debut in 1971 M16's of Revson, Donohue and Hulme qualified 1st, 2nd and 4th for the 500, the race was won by repeat winner Al Unser with Peter Revson coming home a career best 2nd. Mark Donohue driving for the private Penske team said of the M16 that it "...obsoleted every other car on track..." and proved it with a win in 1972.

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In 1973 Johnny Rutherford, seen driving the M16C/5 here at Goodwood Festival of Speed, took pole position again in his works M16 though the Eagles of Johncock and Vukovich Jr took first and second in the race that was called early due to rain. The following season driving the same car Rutherford started 25th on the grid and went on to win the first of his three Indy 500's.

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Photo Ed Arnaudin

In 1975 Rutherford drove the #2 Gatorade M16E/1 qualifying 7th and coming in second.

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Photo Ed Arnaudin

Lloyd Ruby drove the #7 Allied Polymer Group M16E/2 qualifying 6th and finishing 32nd in 1975 and in 1976 Rutherford dominated the Indy 500 with a victory from pole in this ex Ruby chassis. Cliff Hucul raced this same car at Indy from '77 - '79 qualifying a best 18th in '79 and finishing a best 22nd in '77.

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Photo Ed Arnaudin

Bob Harkey seen in the #33 Dayton Walther M16C/2 here in 1975 qualified 23rd for the Indy 500 and after 18 laps handed the car over to Salt Walther who's own M16 had experienced turbo failure after 2 laps. Salt was flagged in 10th at the conclusion of the rain affected race. In 1976 David Hobbs nade his fourth and final Indy start in this car starting 31st and finishing 29th.

In 1978 Jerry Karl modified M16C/2 fitting a Chevrolet stock block motor, Karl made three starts in '78, '80 and '81 recording best start positions of 28th in '78 and '80 and a best finish of 14th in '78. This car still fitted with a Chevy stock block but now with orange #15 bodywork as used by Peter Revson resides in the Matthew Collection.

My thanks to Steve Arnaudin for scanning his Dad's photographs and to everyone who contributed to the M16 thread on The Nostalgia Forum for providing the chassis details.

Hope you have enjoyed today's chisel nose edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !

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