A look back at The Glen
Back in the 1960s, a certain racing circuit in upstate New York established itself as the home of US motor racing. Thousands would flock to it each year among autumnal oranges and browns to watch their heroes fight for victory.
Watkins Glen is one of the most evocative venues ever to hold a Formula 1 race. Fast and featuring massive elevation changes, it hosted the US Grand Prix from 1961 onwards and Formula 1 descended on it for 20 seasons until it disappeared from the calendar in 1981.
The Can-Am Championship raced at the circuit for in the late 1960s and early 1970s. We dominated much of the action during that time, and won our first race there when Bruce McLaren led Denny Hulme home for a one-two in 1969.
Hulme won again in 1970, while another one-two followed in 1971 with Peter Revson and Hulme. Hulme would take his final Can-Am victory at the circuit in 1972, but enjoyed further success that year when he finished third in the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Three years later, in 1975, more success at the circuit would come our way through a double podium finish – Emerson Fittipaldi took the runner-up spot in his McLaren M23 ahead of team-mate Jochen Mass who brought his car home in third.
We won the race in the following two year, 1976 and 1977, with James Hunt driving to victory on both occasions. His 1976 victory would prove vital to his Drivers’ World Championship aspirations, securing vital points at the penultimate round of that season. The year after, he held off home hero Mario Andretti in tricky conditions after starting from pole position.
It seems like a long time since those glorious days but thanks to Mobil 1 the team is returning to the historic venue on June 15 for a unique event involving some thrilling action, as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton swaps cars with double NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.
The Mobil 1 Car Swap will see Lewis piloting the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet Impala NASCAR stock car, usually driven by Stewart, to get a taste of the NASCAR racing discipline.
In turn, the double NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion will have a go in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 Formula 1 car – the car in which Lewis was crowned the 2008 Formula 1 World Drivers’ Champion.
ExxonMobil began its relationship with McLaren back in 1995, through its Mobil 1 synthetic lubricant brand. During that time, the team has won 65 races. Expanding its activities in world motorsport, this is the first year of the brand’s relationship with Stewart-Haas racing, acting as co-primary sponsor for the team’s No.14 car.
Keep an eye out for more information, exclusive pictures and video from this one-off event on June 14 - we'll be posting it all right here on mclaren.com. We hope you're as excited as we are!