Bruce McLaren prided himself on the inventiveness and sheer industry of his small team. But by the turn of the 1970s, the strain was beginning to show as McLaren and team-mate Denny Hulme contested both the full Formula 1 championship and the US-based CanAm sportscar series, then added an Indianapolis programme to the company portfolio.
Lucrative though these peripheral activities were, they entailed a considerable division of labour in McLaren's busy industrial unit on David Road, Colnbrook, under the Heathrow flightpath. In 1968, Bruce had followed in the wheeltracks of his old Cooper team-mate Jack Brabham and won a grand prix in a car bearing his own name but, while the M7 family of F1 cars was neat and compact, development suffered for the dilution of resources - and Bruce's tendency to doggedly pursue his engineering flights of fancy.
While McLaren's CanAm cars raked in cash, both from prize money and the long list of orders from customers (which had to be fulfilled by an outside contractor, Trojan, later an F5000 and F1 entrant in its own right), the travel schedule for the drivers was brutal and the conflicting demands left the team in a spin.