McLaren M23

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McLaren M23
Emerson Fittipaldi McLaren M23 1974 Britain.jpg
Emerson Fittipaldi in the McLaren M23 at the 1974 British Grand Prix.
Category Formula One
Constructor McLaren Racing
Designer(s) Gordon Coppuck
Predecessor M19C
Successor M26
Technical specifications[1]
Chassis Aluminium monocoque.
Suspension (front) Double wishbone, with inboard coilover shock absorbers.
Suspension (rear) Double wishbone.
Axle track 62 in (157 cm)
Wheelbase 101 in (257 cm)
Engine Ford-Cosworth DFV 2,993 cc (182.6 cu in) 90° V8, naturally aspirated, mid-mounted.
Transmission Hewland FG400 5/6-speed manual gearbox.
Weight 575 kg (1,268 lb)
Competition history
Notable entrants Yardley Team McLaren
Marlboro Team Texaco
Marlboro Team McLaren
Notable drivers New Zealand Denny Hulme
United States Peter Revson
West Germany Jochen Mass
United Kingdom Mike Hailwood
Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi
United Kingdom James Hunt
Debut 1973 South African Grand Prix
Races Wins Poles F.Laps
83 16 14 10
Constructors' Championships 1 (1974)
Drivers' Championships 2 (1974: Fittipaldi; 1976: Hunt)
n.b. Unless otherwise stated, all data refer to
Formula One World Championship Grands Prix only.

The McLaren M23 was a Formula One racing car designed by Gordon Coppuck, with input from John Barnard, and built by the McLaren team. It was a development of the McLaren M16 Indianapolis 500 car. A Ford Cosworth DFV engine was used, which was prepared by specialist tuning company Nicholson-McLaren Engines. This helped push the DFV's horsepower output to around 490 bhp.

Competition history[edit]

Denny Hulme's 1973 McLaren-Ford M23 being demonstrated at the Goodwood Festival of Speed
Mike Hailwood driving a Yardley-liveried McLaren M23 at Brands Hatch in 1974
A McLaren M23 with much of its bodywork and front wing removed, Cosworth DFV visible in the rear. Note the exposed pedals between the front wheels and minimal upper-body crash protection, very different from today's F1 cars.

It was introduced for the 1973 season, and scored pole position with Denny Hulme on its very first outing. Hulme and Peter Revson took three wins between them that season, while rookie Jody Scheckter nearly added a fourth. Scheckter was responsible for one of the biggest accidents Formula One has ever seen, at the 1973 British Grand Prix, when he spun his M23 in front of the pack. Emerson Fittipaldi joined McLaren from Lotus in 1974. His knowledge of the Lotus 72 helped McLaren develop the M23 and that season Fittipaldi gave McLaren its first drivers' and constructors' world championships, beating Ferrari, Tyrrell and Lotus.

Further development in 1975 – including a 6-speed gearbox, a novelty for the time – helped Fittipaldi to second in the drivers' championship behind Niki Lauda, who had the benefit of Ferrari's 312T chassis and McLaren to third in the constructors' championship, behind Ferrari and Brabham. The team experimented with different bodywork styles, including aerodynamic kickups in front of the rear wheels, different nose profiles and extended bodywork in front of the rear wheels, housing the oil coolers. Most of these changes were adopted for the M23 and its successor, the McLaren M26. At the end of 1975 Fittipaldi left the team to join his brother's Copersucar-sponsored Fittipaldi Automotive team. He was replaced by James Hunt, who went on to win a dramatic and controversial 1976 season with the final evolution M23, the M23D.

When the replacement McLaren M26 proved troublesome, Hunt and Jochen Mass relied on the M23 in the early part of the 1977 season, and even though the car was now four years old it was still competitive.

The M23 was never the most technically advanced F1 car, but sound preparation and continual development helped it win 16 Grands Prix, two drivers' and one constructors' world championships in its lifetime.

The M23 was also modified for use in Formula 5000 racing. Australian driver John McCormack drove a Leyland powered M23 to win the 1977 Australian Drivers' Championship. McCormack also put his M23 on pole for the 1978 Australian Grand Prix.

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Engine Tyres Drivers No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Points WCC
1973 Yardley Team McLaren Ford Cosworth DFV
3.0 V8
G ARG BRA RSA ESP BEL MON SWE FRA GBR NED GER AUT ITA CAN USA 58* 3rd
Denny Hulme 5 6 7 6 1 8 3 Ret 12 8 15 13 4
Peter Revson 4 Ret 5 7 1 4 9 Ret 3 1 5
Jody Scheckter Ret DNS Ret Ret
Jacky Ickx 3
1974 Marlboro Team Texaco Ford Cosworth DFV
3.0 V8
G ARG BRA RSA ESP BEL MON SWE NED FRA GBR GER AUT ITA CAN USA 73 (75) 1st
Emerson Fittipaldi 5 10 1 7 3 1 5 4 3 Ret 2 Ret Ret 2 1 4
Denny Hulme 6 1 12 9 6 6 Ret Ret Ret 6 7 DSQ 2 6 6 Ret
Yardley Team McLaren Mike Hailwood 33 4 5 3 9 7 Ret Ret 4 7 Ret 15
David Hobbs 7 9
Jochen Mass 16 7
Scribante Lucky Strike Racing Dave Charlton 23 19
1975 Marlboro Team McLaren Ford Cosworth DFV
3.0 V8
G ARG BRA RSA ESP MON BEL SWE NED FRA GBR GER AUT ITA USA 53 3rd
Emerson Fittipaldi 1 1 2 Ret DNS 2 7 8 Ret 4 1 Ret 9 2 2
Jochen Mass 2 14 3 6 1 6 Ret Ret Ret 3 7 Ret 4 Ret 3
Lucky Strike Racing Dave Charlton 31 14
1976 Marlboro Team McLaren Ford Cosworth DFV
3.0 V8
G BRA RSA USW ESP BEL MON SWE FRA GBR GER AUT NED ITA CAN USA JPN 74 (75) 2nd
James Hunt 11 Ret 2 Ret 1 Ret Ret 5 1 DSQ 1 4 1 Ret 1 1 3
Jochen Mass 12 6 3 5 Ret 6 5 11 15 Ret 3 7 Ret 5 4 Ret
1977 Marlboro Team McLaren Ford Cosworth DFV
3.0 V8
G ARG BRA RSA USW ESP MON BEL SWE FRA GBR GER AUT NED ITA USA CAN JPN 60* 3rd
James Hunt 1 Ret 2 4 7 Ret
Jochen Mass 2 Ret Ret 5 Ret 4 4 Ret 2 9
Bruno Giacomelli 14 Ret
Gilles Villeneuve 40 11
Iberia Airlines Emilio de Villota 36 13 DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ 17 DNQ
Chesterfield Racing Brett Lunger 30 DNS 11 DNQ 13 Ret 10 9 Ret 10 11
1978 Liggett Group/
B&S Fabrications
Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G ARG BRA RSA USW MON BEL ESP SWE FRA GBR GER AUT NED ITA USA CAN 15 8th
Brett Lunger 30 13 Ret 11 DNQ
Nelson Piquet 29 Ret Ret 9
Centro Aseguredor F1 Emilio de Villota 28 DNQ
Melchester Racing Tony Trimmer 40 DNQ

* 12 points in 1973 scored using the M19A and M19C
* 39 points in 1977 scored using the M26
* All points in 1978 scored using the McLaren M26

References[edit]

  • F1 Racing magazine, January 2001
  • Motor Sport (magazine), August 2002
  1. ^ "McLaren M23 Cosworth". Ultimatecarpage.com. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 

External links[edit]