Sunday, 3 Dec, 2023

Steve Nichols & The McLaren MP4/4 - The Story Gordon Murray Doesn't Want Told

Steve Nichols & The McLaren MP4/4 - The Story Gordon Murray Doesn't Want Told

For almost 30 years, the general public have been told that the McLaren MP4/4, the most successful F1 car of all time, was in fact an evolution of Gordon Murray's Brabham BT55.

His suggestion has always been that it was an evolution of the "low-line" concept behind the Brabham. However, the BT55 was a complete failure on track and led to Murray departing Brabham - as well as their competitive downfall.

In today's video, I sit down with McLaren's Chief Designer Steve Nichols - who many claim is in fact the true architect of this car. He was also race engineer to Ayrton Senna and worked with the likes of John Watson, Alain Prost, Niki Lauda and Nigel Mansell in a career that spanned over 25 years.

After three decades of Murray claiming credit for the 4/4, Nichols has been motivated to speak out and I was lucky enough to be chosen to talk to him about what happened - and why he thinks Gordon is doing this.

#SteveNichols #GordonMurray #McLaren

Chapter Listing:

0:00 Introduction
3:30 Steve's Early Years
6:35 Beginnings in Motorsport
8:36 Formula One & Project Four
12:02 The MP4/1
16:27 The TAG Turbo Engine & Niki Lauda
20:29 The Arrival of Gordon Murray
26:03 1986 & 1987 Season Summary
29:53 Beginning the MP4/4 Design
36:18 The "Low-Line" MP4/4
40:36 Pre-Season Testing
44:02 1988 Season Summary
47:18 1989 MP4/5
48:27 The Argument Begins
50:18 1990 Letter to Martin Whitmarsh
54:34 The Haynes Manual
56:09 Murray Threatens Nichols
1:00:21 What Happened Next

Thanks to John Minett, David Laird, Matthew Jeffreys and Steve Nichols. Thanks also to Jon Bourne and Ellie Thompson from University of Surrey. Location provided by Chris Drake at Lights Cars Action -

A Special thanks to Antony Marcano from @sportzntouring for his contribution.

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