Zak Brown car collection: The legendary machines owned by the McLaren boss

Thomas Maher
Carlos Sainz drives the McLaren M8D at Goodwood in 2019.

Carlos Sainz drives the McLaren M8D at Goodwood in 2019.

Zak Brown is well-known for having a colossal car collection boasting some of the world’s most legendary machines. Let’s take a peek…

The McLaren CEO is a dyed-in-the-wool racer, with the Californian businessman committing his own personal finances towards assembling a huge collection of jaw-dropping machinery to fill his garage.

Obviously, not all of Brown’s car collection is road-legal, given the sheer amount of race cars he owns. But that doesn’t mean the cars are garage queens either, although the machinery is immaculately maintained at United Autosport’s facility in the UK.

Brown does manage to get some of his cars out on track on an annual basis, whether for displays or demonstrations in the hands of seasoned professionals, and even occasionally takes the wheel himself.

Brown’s car collection is massively comprehensive, to the point where it’s impossible to catalogue it in its entirety with any hope of 100% accuracy. But let’s peel through the cars Brown is known to own…

Zak Brown’s own McLaren collection

As the CEO of McLaren, and a self-admitted fan of the illustrious marque stretching back to childhood, it’s no surprise that Brown owns several iconic machines.

One of these is an ex-Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda MP4/6 from 1991, the car with which the legendary Brazilian won the Drivers’ Championship that season.

“It really ticks every box,” Brown told Magneto magazine last year. “I’ve had it for five years, and if I had to pick just one car from my collection, this would be it. Unfortunately, I haven’t driven it because I won’t fit, but it’s been driven. I had Emerson Fittipaldi drive it at Goodwood in 2021.”

He also owns an ex-Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes MP4/16, the car Hakkinen won his final Grand Prix with, as well as Lewis Hamilton’s 2012 McLaren MP4/27 that won that year’s Italian and United States Grands Prix.

Aside from the F1 cars, Brown also owns a 1970 McLaren M8D, a 7.6-litre Chevrolet-powered Can-Am machine that was driven by Peter Gethin and Dan Gurney. This is the same car Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz drove at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2019. Team founder Bruce McLaren lost his life in a sister M8D during a test at Goodwood during 1970.

Brown’s road-going McLarens include a P1 – a limited-production hybrid offering that was built by McLaren’s road car division between 2013 and 2015. A successor to the McLaren F1 road car, only 375 units were produced – Brown making sure he snapped one of them up. Costing over a million dollars, the P1 has 730bhp and does 0.60mph in 2.8 seconds.

Brown also owns a McLaren Speedtail – a one-off supercar developed by the road car division under Brown’s leadership. Valued at $2.2 million, the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 hybrid boasts 1000bhp and a 0-60mph time of 2.5 seconds and a top speed of 250(!!)mph.

What other legendary F1 racing cars does Zak Brown own?

Aside from McLarens, Brown also owns an ex-Jody Scheckter Wolf WR1, the only car prior to the 2009 Brawn to win on its Grand Prix debut. Scheckter would go on to win a further two Grands Prix, but Brown’s car is the one that won the first race of the season – the Argentinian Grand Prix.

Jody Scheckter races to the win at the 1977 Argentinian Grand Prix in his Wolf WR1.
Jody Scheckter races to the win at the 1977 Argentinian Grand Prix in his Wolf WR1.

A 1978 Lotus 79 is also in Brown’s garage – the exact 79 that Mario Andretti won the 1978 Belgian Grand Prix with en route to that year’s title. It’s also the chassis Ronnie Peterson used to win the Austrian Grand Prix later that season.

Alan Jones’ 1980 British Grand Prix-winning Williams FW07/B also forms part of Brown’s collection.

Zak Brown appears to be quite a Nigel Mansell fan too – he has two cars the F1 and IndyCar Champion raced during his career. One of these is a 1987 Williams-Honda FW11, with which Mansell won that year’s British Grand Prix – the exact car Mansell performed that pass on his three-time World Champion teammate, and blew up the engine just after the chequered flag.

Williams' Nigel Mansell at the 1987 British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 1987.
Williams' Nigel Mansell at the 1987 British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 1987.

The other Mansell machine is the 1993 Newman-Haas Lola with which he won the 1993 IndyCar title, the year after winning the ’92 F1 World Championship before leaving the sport for America.

Other IndyCar machines include Mario Andretti’s 1987 Lola Newman-Haas, designed by Adrian Newey (and autographed by him too!) with which he dominated the Indy 500 until a harmonic imbalance led to a broken valve spring in the engine.

Brown also owns Emerson Fittipaldi’s Indy 500-winning Penske PC18, as well as Bobby Rahal’s March 84C from 1984 – one of the chassis Newey designed for use in that year’s IndyCar series. A sister 84C would win the Indy 500 with Rick Mears.

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Another Indy 500-winning chassis is owned by Brown, with Rick Mears’ 1991 Penske also in his collection. There’s also a 1974 Lola T332, as raced by Mario Andretti in the US Formula 5000 series.

Other machines include a Martini Lancia LC2 Group C, which led most of the 1984 Le Mans 24 Hours in the hands of Bob Wollek and Alessandro Nannini, as well as a Ross Brawn-designed Castrol IMSA Jaguar XJR-10.

There’s also an ex-Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet Monte Carlo, as raced by the NASCAR legend in 1984. This is the car that Daniel Ricciardo got to drive at the 2021 United States Grand Prix, after making a deal with Brown that he’d get to drive the car if he won a Grand Prix – the Australian managing to do just that at the Italian round that season.

Daniel Ricciardo Dale Earnhardt Monte Carlo. Austin October 2021
Daniel Ricciardo drivers Dale Earnhardt Monte Carlo at the Circuit of the Americas. Austin October 2021

“That’s a special car,” Brown said at COTA that weekend.

“That started off life in 1983. It’s actually Ricky Rudd’s car that won at Riverside. I was at that race. And then it got converted to Dale Earnhardt Sr’s car in the ’84 and ’85 season, and won a handful of races, so it’s the real deal.”

Brown also owns an ex-Carlos Sainz Ford Escort rally car, which won the 1997 Acropolis Rally and finished second at the Monte Carlo rally, as well as an ex-Nick Percat 2011 Holden Commodore V8 which was raced to victory at Mount Panorama that year.

Small but significant machinery in Brown’s collection includes Ayrton Senna’s old world championship kart from 1981, as well as Mika Hakkinen’s kart from his European Championship days.

There’s also a Serge Power Ford Capri 3.0 Bastos as raced in the 1980 Spa 24 Hours, and a 2008 Ferrari F430 with which Brown raced to victory at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the Ferrari Challenge Series. Brown also is the proud owner of a Porsche 935, a racing car developed by Porsche in the 1970s and went on to win numerous races and championships.

Quite the fan of Porsche, Brown has a 962 – a fully restored example of the race car built by Porsche between 1984 and 1991.

What other machines are in Zak Brown’s car collection?

With such a huge amount of racing finery in his collection, the remaining cars appear comparatively mundane – despite being anything but!

He owns a Porsche 959 – a legendary sports car produced during the 1980s. It was one of the first production cars to feature a four-wheel-drive transmission and a twin-turbo engine producing 444 bhp.

It’s valued at quarter of a million dollars, and does 0-60 in 3.6 seconds.

Brown splashed out nearly a million dollars for an AC Cobra 289. This machine had its body designed by AC Cars in the UK, with a Ford V8 engine chucking out 271bhp. His 289 model was the first version of this Cobra to be built in the United States.

The piece de resistance of Brown’s collection is the highly limited-edition Ferrari F50, with the Italian manufacturer producing 349 examples between 1995 and 1997. Its value is estimated at around $4 million.