1 Dec 2015

McLaren to be immortalised on film

11:28 am on 1 December 2015

New Zealand sporting legend Bruce McLaren is about to immortalised on the big screen, 45 years after he died while testing one of his racing cars.

The McLaren M7A driven by Bruce McLaren in 1969.

Bruce McLaren drives the McLaren M7A in 1969 Photo: CC BY 2.0 Lothar Spurzem

Los Angeles-based director Roger Donaldson is in New Zealand making a feature documentary about McLaren.

Australian-born Donaldson, who moved to New Zealand at 19, also directed The World's Fastest Indian, which brought Invercargill speedster Burt Munro to the world's attention.

"I've had a passion for motorsports for many years and Bruce McLaren, of course, is one of the true icons of the business," he told Morning Report.

"As a boy I remember seeing him race in Australia and New Zealand so when I was approached about doing this film I jumped at the opportunity."

The plan was to make a feature documentary about McLaren, his life and the legacy he left with McLaren Automotive.

McLaren was a New Zealand race car designer, driver, engineer and inventor who died when his Can-Am car crashed during a test run in England in 1970.

McLaren and Munro shared many similarities, Mr Donaldson said.

"You know, someone who starts off against all odds and really manages to pull it together."

The World's Fastest Indian was the highest-grossing local film at the New Zealand box-office and made $US18 million worldwide.

The McLaren film producers are working closely with the race car driver's family and the Bruce McLaren Trust, which gies them access to an extensive collection of memorabilia and more than 100,000 photos.

But they believed there could be treasures yet to be located, possibly in England, where he lived, and Europe and USA, where he raced.

"We are definitely looking for anything at all that has anything to do with Bruce," Mr Donaldson said.

The producers asked anyone with material featuring McLaren, or associated people in his life during the 1950s and 60s, to contact researcher Pheobe Shum at phoebe@generalfilm.co.nz