The ultimate Mclaren monster
The Gordon Coppuckdesigned Mclaren M8F was perhaps the ultimate Can-am car, not as powerful or as efficient as the 917s that followed and stole its crown, but was the last normallyaspirated leviathan that did what this category intended: put a colossal engine in the back and light the blue touch paper.
The M8F looked like a door wedge and behaved like a brick through a plate glass window. Now belting out 740bhp and with an aluminium monocoque three inches longer than that on the M8D, on which the cars were based, the M8F had new 17-inch wheels meaning new rear suspension plus new aero and bodywork was apparent at the front of the car. The chassis was also made stiffer.
The driver’s footwell was braced with a hoop to protect the driver: accidents, big ones, were a way of life in Can-am.
The F also boasted parts made from materials such as magnesium and titanium and its weight was down on the M8D at 770 kilos. Another plus was that Mclaren engine builder Gary Knutson worked up a new intake trumpet design which featured staggered trumpets of two different lengths that helped to smooth out the engine’s power curve.
Denny Hulme won three races in its championshipwinning season of 1971, Peter Revson five on his way to the championship. There were just 10 rounds…
Truly, it was a mighty beast.