SAE International Publishes New Book on the Untold Story of McLaren Engines

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New book highlights little-known details on the legendary American engine company’s transition from race shop to engineering company

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“I have long been fascinated with the little-known story of a Michigan company, initially known as McLaren Engines, Inc. In partnering with SAE International for this book, we hope to share this history with a larger motor sport enthusiast audience.” - Roger Meiners

SAE International recently published, McLaren: The Engine Company, an untold story of McLaren Engines, an American company founded in 1969 by Bruce McLaren and his partners to build engines for McLaren’s legendary Canadian-American Challenge Cup and Indianapolis 500 cars. Authored by Roger Meiners, the book uncovers little-known details of the McLaren company’s transition from race shop to an engineering company.

In the book, Mr. Meiners reveals previously undisclosed details about the company, including developing such noteworthy performance cars such as the sensational 1987 Buick GNX, the 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix Turbo, the FR500 Ford Mustang concept, and other projects that the public never saw. Mr. Meiners also combines his life-long passion for motor racing and technology with his historian’s sensibilities to make the engines, cars, and key personalities come alive within the book’s pages.

“I have long been fascinated with the little-known story of a Michigan company, initially known as McLaren Engines, Inc., that served as the McLaren racing team’s North American headquarters during the 1970s,” said Mr. Meiners. “In partnering with SAE International for this book, we hope to share this history with a larger motor sport enthusiast audience.”

For decades, the non-descript McLaren shop was the hotbed of horsepower for factories and top independent racers alike. From its base in suburban Detroit were born big-block Chevrolet V8 engines that powered iconic orange cars to two of their five consecutive Canadian-American Challenge Cup championships. McLaren’s dyno rooms also produced the turbo Offenhausers that helped put Mark Donahue and Johnny Rutherford in Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500 three times between 1972 and 1976.

The McLaren shop went on to develop a long list of race engines powered by Buick Indy and ISMA cars, BMW GTP cars, Cadillac LeMans prototypes and more. Today the company, known as McLaren Engineering, is a subsidiary of Canada-based Linamar Corporation, and is sought after by global automakers for its unrivaled testing, development and manufacturing capability.

Johnny Rutherford, racing hall of famer and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, explained in the book’s foreword: “I believe that the lessons learned from racing must have certainly transferred to the company’s R&D, engineering, and manufacturing activities. Creativity, attention to detail, hard work and a drive to meet immovable deadlines are all qualities of successful racers and also successful businesses.”

This new book adds to SAE International’s library of more than 300 original titles to-date. SAE International books are authored by some of the most respected names in the industry and explore topics critical to aerospace and ground vehicle engineering.

Book Information:

  • Author: Roger Meiners
  • Publisher: SAE International
  • Product Code: R-485
  • ISBN: 978-0-7680-9512-8
  • Page Count: 272 pages in a hardbound binding

To learn more about McLaren: The Engine Company and purchase a copy, please visit: https://www.sae.org/publications/books/content/r-485/.

To browse the full complement of SAE International books, visit https://www.sae.org/publications/books.

About SAE International
SAE International is a global association committed to advancing mobility knowledge and solutions for the benefit of humanity. By engaging nearly 200,000 engineers, technical experts and volunteers, we connect and educate mobility professionals to enable safe, clean, and accessible mobility solutions. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including award-winning programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™. More at http://www.sae.org.

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