[Video] Classics – Derek Bell drives his 1969 McLaren F1 car again image

Bruce McLaren – who’s going to be immortalized for posterity in a new documentary – had numerous achievements before giving his life to the sport back in 1970 at Goodwood.

But the four-wheel drive McLaren M9A Formula One car won’t be actually counted as one… the technology was just an experiment for teams back in the 1960s and it was never too effective, with aerodynamics becoming better and better to the point it was besting the four-wheel drive’s traction advantage. And we all know Formula One rules prohibited the use of AWD from the competition after 1982. But it’s quirky awesome to see the vintage racer in action, with racing legend Derek Bell having driven this particular example at the 1969 British Grand Prix. Though at the time only six laps were completed on the Silverstone circuit due to suspension issues.

McLaren himself said about the M9A that driving it was like “trying to write your signature with someone constantly jogging your elbow,” but 48 years later the machine has been reunited with the original driver – again on the Silverstone track as part of the Pure McLaren weekend. “There you are, driving this beautiful car that was a piece of art at the time, a sort-of technology advancement that never really worked,” said Bell. “To be honest, I wasn’t going super fast because the engine is old and tired, but it was still sweet and crisp and wanted to go, and the car was really quite good.”