The Full Wiki

More info on McLaren M26

McLaren M26: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The M26 in 2003.

The McLaren M26 was a Formula One car designed by Gordon Coppuck to replace the ageing McLaren M23 model. The car was designed to be a lighter and lower car than its predecessor, with a smaller frontal area and narrower monocoque. Coppuck began design work in early 1976, with a view to introducing the car in the mid season.

Upon first tests by Jochen Mass, problems with the cooling were encountered and Coppuck had to redesign the radiator installation for more effective airflow. After the changes were made, Mass resumed testing the car, and the M26 made its debut at the Dutch Grand Prix that year in his hands. Ater the first race was completed with the car, it was decided amongst the team that the car needed further design work done, especially to the nose section and the M26 was not used again during 1976.

The M26 being driven in 2007.

McLaren relied on the M23 during the rest of the season and for the first few races of 1977 until it was deemed necessary that the M26 was to race in light of the wilting performance of its predecessor. The redesigned car made its debut at the Spanish Grand Prix, where it proved to be a solid, if unspectacular performer. James Hunt, who initially hated the car knuckled down to improve the race pace and reliability of the M26, and throughout the season the car's performance improved noticeably. Hunt won three times during the course of the season, and scored two other podium finishes in the second half of the season. Two other potential victories were lost in Austria and Canada through reliability issues when Hunt was leading easily. At season's end, McLaren had scored 69 points and were third in the constructors' championship.

The M26 was updated for the 1978 season and Mass was replaced by Patrick Tambay. But after a promising start to the season for Hunt, things began to go drastically wrong for him and for the McLaren team. Lotus introduced their ground breaking Lotus 79 and the M26 was immediately obsolete. Hunt tried too hard in several races making up for the performance deficit which led to race ending retirements, but the pure superiority of the Lotus caused his motivation to fall. Coppuck did an extensive redesign in the mid season, turning the M26 into a partial ground effect car, enlarging the sidepods for the ground effect venturis, redesigning the suspension and adding smaller wings front and rear, but there was no improvement in the cars' form and without a test driver to sort the cars' issues, the team's fortunes sunk even further.

The M26 was retired at the end of the season. The slow decline of McLaren had begun and it would not be until 1981 that the team would win again.

In all, the M26 won three races and scored 86 points in its career.



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address