McLaren Ford M23

McLaren Ford M23

by Luca Dal Monte

It is one of the cars that made history in Formula 1 for its results and longevity. Through various evolutions, the M23 was indeed deployed on the track for six seasons, from 1973 to 1978. In this timeframe, it contested 80 Grand Prix, clinching 16 victories, 14 Pole Positions, 10 fastest laps in races, two Drivers’ World Championships, and one Constructors’ World Championship.

English engineer Gordon Coppuck designed the M23 starting from the car he had created for the Indianapolis 500, the M16 model, and with an eye on the Lotus 72, which had amazed the world in 1970. The engine is the reliable 8-cylinder Ford-Cosworth, entrusted by McLaren for tuning to Nicholson Engines. The rear suspensions are the same as in the previous model, the M19.

McLaren Ford M23 Image 1


Denny Hulme: He secured the first pole position and the first victory for the M23. In 1973, the New Zealand driver also clinched a third place at Silverstone. With the M23, he achieved his last career victory, the 1974 Argentine Grand Prix.

Peter Revson: The American driver achieved his first career victory with the M23 at the 1973 British Grand Prix. That year he also won in Canada and finished third at Monza.

Jacky Ickx: The Belgian driver competed in only one race with the M23, the 1973 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring circuit, where he finished third.

Emerson Fittipaldi: The Brazilian driver secured a total of five victories with the M23, three in the 1974 season when he became world champion, and two in 1975 when he finished as runner-up.

Jochen Mass: The German driver spent three seasons behind the wheel of the M23. He achieved his only victory at the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix.

James Hunt: James is the driver who won most races with the M23, claiming six Grand Prix victories, all in the 1976 season, at the end of which he became world champion.

Our model cars:

McLaren Ford M23 Image 2

The debut was extremely positive. In the hands of the experienced Denny Hulme, the M23 clinched Pole Position in its first race, the 1973 South African Grand Prix. The M23 secured three victories in the first season (1973), four in the second (1974), three in the third (1975), and six in the fourth (1976), which was the last year it stood on the highest step of the podium. In the seventh season (1977), it was used by the official McLaren team only in the first part of the year. From then on, and throughout 1978, it was used by the McLaren official team to test new drivers, including Gilles Villeneuve, Bruno Giacomelli, and Nelson Piquet, or loaned to small teams.

A curiosity: the M23 was built in thirteen units, numbered from 1 to 14, skipping the number 13, considered unlucky.

McLaren Ford M23 Image 3