By Lotus Jr. January 12, 2018
The 1970 M8D gave McLaren one of its best years in Can-Am. McLaren took nine wins from 10 rounds, and Denny Hulme took his second title despite driving with his hands still bandaged after the fire in the M15 at Indianapolis.
The M8D differed visually from the M8B. With new rules banning the strut-mounted wings that had proliferated in 1969, the solution at McLaren comprised a pair of tail fins which acted as fences to channel airflow over a wide, low-mounted wing located eight inches above the rear bodywork. The distinctive appearance earned the car the nickname ‘the Batmobile’. It was less efficient aerodynamically without the M8B’s high wing, so to maintain performance the team sought even greater horsepower. A new deal with Reynolds Aluminium gave it access to that company’s new silicon-aluminium Chevrolet blocks, 8-litre versions of which were said to be capable of producing 700bhp. In the interest of reliability a slightly smaller 7.6-litre was chosen, giving 670bhp. (Source: McLaren website.)
Slot.it has replicated the 1:1 car into 1:32 scale with great detail down to the iconic velocity stacks. The sidewinder configuration makes for a smooth, quiet and quick racer. However. racing this series at 12 volts, presents some real challenges.
Round-1 of our McLaren series had 8 entries. Dave’s red and yellow Newman car was fast and smooth, winning Group-A with 221.17 laps. Russell’s Led Zeppelin M8D was really flying with a close second of 220.37 laps and a fastest A lap of 3.831 seconds. Steve’s gray stealth McLaren rounded out 3rd at 208.42 laps, followed by Marty’s black Newman car and Mark’s Led Zepp entry. John won Group-B with 213.57 laps and a best B lap of 3.893 with the orange Denny Hulme car. Quickly improving Erik picked up second with the yellow and blue Swedish entry at 203.35 laps, followed by Randy running his factory orange M8D. Watch for this series to become even more competitive as drivers adapt to these new cars and the set-ups evolve.