Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bob McLean Dies In Crash At Sebring, Florida - March 26, 1966

September 24, 1933 - March 26, 1966
Bob McLean
(Photo; www.thecoralsnake.com)
Born:Australia, Home: Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Bob started his driving career in 1957 with an MGA, racing frequently at his home track, the very new Westwood Racing Circuit in Coquitlam, located close to his hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. By all measures, McLean was well liked and respected on the road racing circuits.

In 1965, McLean set out with his 1.6 litre twin-cam powered Lotus 23B to conquer the Canadian Driving Championships, a venture which would see him travel extensively. By air and by ground he travelled to every national event that year, covering nearly 100,000 kilometres. After a season of dominant performances, he was successful at winning the Championship, a remarkable accomplishment considering the eastern Canadian "establishment" drivers and their bigger and faster cars.

Early in 1966, Bob McLean earned a spot with the Comstock Racing Team, a Canadian endurance-racing team. Sharing the driving with fellow Canadian driver Jean Oulette, they piloted one of the team's two Ford GT40s in the 16th Annual Sebring 12 Hour Grand Prix of Endurance for the Alitalia Cup race at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida, United States of America. This was a showdown battle between Ford and Ferrari. Shortly after McLean took over driving duties in the fourth hour of the race, his Ford GT40 crashed into a utility power pole and exploded into flames, killing McLean.

Bob McLean left behind his wife Kathie and their two young children. McLean's death was a huge blow to the motorsport community. The funeral procession to his final resting place in Burnaby included a line of cars that reportedly stretched out some two miles, a testament to the fact that he was well admired. McLean was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in Toronto in 1993. In more recent years, McLean was featured in a Peter Lipskis documentary entitled King of Westwood.

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