McLaren M26

McLaren M26

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McLaren M26

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The McLaren M26 was a Formula One racing car designed by Gordon Coppuck for the McLaren team, to replace the aging 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. After 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.

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...
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