McLaren has released the first of three films as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations. The first film, ‘Courage’, picks up on the death of founder Bruce McLaren at Goodwood circuit in 1970 – he was just 32 years old. An excerpt of the film was used in yesterday’s launch of the team’s MP4-28 F1 contender.

Directed by Marcus Söderlund, a Swedish music-video maker, the three-and-a-half minute film shows the ghost of Bruce McLaren as he retraces the scene of his fatal crash. Shot in Söderlund’s trademark, dreamlike state, it’s accompanied by a Bruce McLaren monologue, ending poignantly with the words:

“…What might be seen as a tragic end was in fact a beginning. As I always said, to do something well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy. Indeed, life is not measured in years alone but in achievement…”

Instead of focusing on the high-tech, high-octane world of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team, or even the Group’s new Automotive division and its 12C and McLaren P1 cars, the film sheds light on story behind the famous name that we almost take for granted in 2013.

Marcus Söderlund said, “The script for this film made me shiver and I wanted to recreate that feeling. I wanted to fill the film with emotions. I am obsessed with gestures. These things that reveal who we are and the physical spaces that we inhabit. Films can change the way you look at the world by showing you how another person sees it. This is how I imagine that Bruce McLaren looked at the world.”


It’s a spine-chilling recreation of the moment which inspired McLaren (the company) to become the best in the world at what they do.

Ron Dennis, executive chairman of McLaren Group said, “Bruce McLaren wrote the beginning of the story, and the legend is going to continue for many years to come. I’m only a chapter, not the book, and I want other people to come in and write their own chapters as time goes by. This is a book that’s still being written, and that, perhaps, is the greatest legacy of McLaren.”

Parts two and three of the McLaren short film trilogy will be released in due course, in the meantime you can watch the first of Söderlund’s films above.