Bruce McLaren’s ambitious plans of winning the Can-Am racing series in 1967 saw him build the McLaren M6A. The McLaren team was replacing its M1B racing car from the 1966 season with the M6A, which sported an improved aerodynamic design, helping it attain a higher top end. Powered by a Chevrolet V8, the M6A would also help McLaren win their first multiple Can-Am racing championships. The McLaren M6GT was essentially a McLaren M6A that was fitted with a roof to enable it to participated in the 24 Hours of LeMans.
The effort of complying with the homologation requirements of the FIA’s Group 4 was never fully complete and led to the McLaren M6GT to be converted into the M6B’s which were sold to customers as road cars. In fact Bruce McLaren used a M6B as his daily driver. The M6A was the first car from McLaren to adopt the monocoque chassis construction, which provided higher chassis rigidity and also ensured better safety to passengers, both of which was very important in racing. The other major developments from the M1B included a body design which helped in higher downforce, thereby increasing the car’s cornering capabilities. The Chevrolet-sourced V8 engine was further worked on by McLaren by custom building a Fuel Injection system, which not only increased power output but also helped in dodging carburettor related issues. The tires were changed to Goodyear form the M1B’s Firestone. The testing of the M6A was carried out over a distance of 2000 miles (3218km) in the Goodwood circuit preparing for the Can-Am racing season. The M6A was also the first car to be finished in the McLaren Papaya Orange paint scheme which would go on to become synonymous with the British racing brand.
The 1967 Can-Am racing series proved highly successful for the M6A’s, with two cars participating in the series. The first race saw one of the M6A’s failing to finish with an oil leak while the other car secured victory. The next three rounds saw the M6A’s racing away with the top two podium spots and led to a McLaren dominated season. The Mclaren M6A, went down in history as one of the most successful McLaren race cars. It cemented McLaren as force to be reckoned with.