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Featured: McLaren MP4/2 – Tale of the best McLaren

This car must be one of John Barnard’s greatest masterpieces! 

Written By Lucy Bennett, Edited By Ryan Lack

The McLaren MP4/2 won on its debut at the Jacarepagua circuit in Rio De Janeiro. The iconic red and white car was piloted by Alain Prost, Niki Lauda, Keke Rosberg and John Watson. For the 1984 season it secured 12 wins, six the following year and four in 1986.

In total it won two consecutive Constructors Championships and three back-to-back Driver’s Championships, 1 for Niki Lauda, his third and final championship, and 2 for Alain Prost.

Why was it so dominant? The MP4/2 added a TAG badged, house financed, as well as Porsche-built turbocharged V6. When you combine these together you get a car that would completely annihilate the competition on their day, often finishing 30+ seconds ahead of the competition.

Surprisingly, the MP4/2 was not good in qualifying. McLaren refused to run the specific qualifying motors like the rest of the grid. Brabham were running short life BMW engines and the boost turned up to 1,100kW for qualifying. But come race day, the McLaren was the car to beat.

Until 1986, the McLaren MP4/2 was the strongest car on the grid and it wasn’t until Williams turned up with Honda powered engines that there was consistent competition for the McLaren, but even then, Alain Prost secured the final MP4/2 Driver’s Championship.


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