Bruce McLaren formed his own team, Bruce McLaren Motor Racing, in 1963. For two years the McLaren team had raced in the Tasman Series, a competition for single-seaters that ran during the Formula One world championship off-season, and in various sports car races, while Bruce continued to race in F1 for Cooper Car. In 1965 McLaren decided to build his own Formula One car to race the following year and enlisted Robin Herd, former aerospace engineer, to design the car. The McLaren 2B had monocoque chassis constructed from Malite, a material formed by a sheet of balsa wood being compressed between two thin sheets of aluminium. To power his new car McLaren chose to reduce 4.2-litre Ford V8 4-camshft Indy engine by using a shorter stroke. The new power unit having a capacity of 2995 cc and producing 303 bhp, faced various problems and forced McLaren to also use a 3-litre Serenissima sports car engine, which produced only 260 bhp and was equally unsuccessful. The M2B driven by Bruce debuted at Monaco Grand Prix, powered by Ford. McLaren retired in that race, switched to Serenissima for British Grand Prix where he finished 6th. Then after several non-starts and withdrawals, McLaren returned with improved Ford for two North American F1 races. At Watkins Glen Bruce was able to finish 5th, while at Mexico City M2B retired again with engine troubles.
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