Brother of future McLaren team principal Teddy Mayer, Tim could effectively lay claim to being the first McLaren team driver hired by Bruce in the early years, joining the New Zealander to drive one of Bruce McLaren Motor Racing’s specially built 2.5-litre Cooper-Climax single seaters in the 1964 Tasman Series.
Mayer had started racing in an Austin Healey and competed with distinction in Formula Junior whilst studying English Literature at Yale in 1958. Teddy was effectively running a three-car F3 team for his brother, Peter Revson and a friend called Bill Smith, under the Rev-Em Racing team banner. Throughout 1962 they ran a trio of Coopers in 16 races, winning 15, on the strength of which Tim was invited for a Formula Junior test driver with Ken Tyrrell in the UK. Young Mayer would also have his sole GP outing that year driving an uncompetitive works Cooper at Watkins Glen where he failed to finish.
He then raced in Europe with the Tyrrell Cooper-BMCs in 1963, impressing the British racing fraternity, although the BMC engines were not in the same class as the Cosworths used by the Lotus opposition. On Tyrrell’s recommendation, John Cooper was anxious to sign Timmy to drive alongside Bruce in his F1 squad for 1964, but at the start of that season the young American crashed fatally practising for the Tasman race on the challenging Longford road circuit in Tasmania and the sport was robbed of one of its great potential future talents.