Hamilton drives 1986 McLaren as team celebrate TAG deal extension (Pictures)

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Lewis Hamilton driving a 1986 McLaren-TAG MP4/2C

Lewis Hamilton missed out on his chance to drive a 1988 McLaren MP4/4 at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

But he got to drive and even earlier model yesterday evening as McLaren celebrated the extension of its long standings contract with TAG Heuer.

Hamilton drove the car, which Alain Prost won the 1986 world championship with, past lake towards the entrance of the McLaren Technology Centre, parking alongside the McLaren-Mercedes MP4/23 he won his title in last year.

According to the team:

The relationship, signed in 1985, is one of the longest sporting sponsorship deals in history, and today’s announcement underlines the ongoing successes that both brands continue to enjoy together.

The team first used TAG-branded Porsche engines in 1983, fitted to a MP4/1D driven by Niki Lauda at the Dutch Grand Prix. The following year the team swept the board, winning 12 of the 16 races.

I’m not sure why the team is marking 1985 as the start of their partnership, presumably something significant changed in their co-operation. I have asked why and am waiting for an answer but if you can enlighten please do so in the comments…

Update: McLaren have explained as follows which largely matches RFB’s point in the comments:

“TAG is Techniques d’Avant Garde – the company largely owned by Mansour Ojjeh that funded the development of the 1.5-litre Porsche engine – which first appeared in our cars in late 1983. The TAG branding on the car from those days referred solely to the TAG-badged engine we ran (we rebadged the Porsche engines as TAGs). TAG also bought into the venerable Heuer watch brand – and it is that branding which first appeared on our cars from 1986. I believe the deal was originally done in 1985.”

Here are some more pictures from the event:

Images (C) McLaren / TAG Heuer / Patrick Gosling

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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34 comments on “Hamilton drives 1986 McLaren as team celebrate TAG deal extension (Pictures)”

  1. I wanted one of these watches, but they are SO EXPENSIVE!!!

    1. Out of interest, how much?

    2. My friend at uni got the Limited edition Lewis Hamilton one for his 21st a few weeks back.

      He wears it into uni every now and again and shows me some of the cool stuff it does, like it has a timer on it that counts up like a rev counter. Pretty sweeeet.

      So expensive though, I think it’s about £2000 or £2500 not sure. I’m quite happy with my pink flower watch thank-you-very-much :) I’m too clumsy to have a ‘nice’ watch.

      1. Wow, that sounds fantastic. Your friend is so lucky!

      2. So was I, or so I thought. Having broken a few watches in quick succession, I decided to buy a TAG Heuer 2000 series in 1990. It’s still going well now, despite having had a series of knocks over the years. I wear it at work in a chemical lab and for sports. The glass is sapphire crystal, which means it never gets scratched too. Buy one.

    3. I would like one of those watches as well, but would never be able to buy one because they are too expensive for me. But if somehow I managed to get one I would probably be too scared to wear something so expensive in case something happened to it.

  2. I’m not sure why the team is marking 1985 as the start of their partnership, presumably something significant changed in their co-operation.

    Presumably because there is a difference between TAG (Techniques d’Avant Garde), the holding company owned by Mansour Ojjeh, and “TAG Heuer” the watch brand. The name of later was originally only “Heuer” and changed in 1985 when TAG bought it. Half of it has since been sold to LVMH, a French luxury holding company.

    So 1985 marks the beginning of the partnership with the watch brand, not the TAG Group.

    1. That sounds about right, thanks RFB.

      1. Hi Keith !
        I am still investigating on my french side to have an explanation, even though, I believe the one from RFB is probably right ?
        To be confirmed ?

  3. As nice as the trophies and the cars are… that table does look a little bit like it’s in a corridor. I’m not convinced about having dinner parties at the factory : )

    1. I can’t think of a better setting for an expensive slap up meal!
      Look to the left, the ‘clinic’ with two current McLaren cars in it. I mean, wow!

    2. That ‘corridor’ is basically Mclarens trophy room. Id say its an extremely impressive place to have a meal…it goes on for miles :-)

  4. Great pics and post. Thanks, Keith!

  5. Get out of your overalls Hamilton… the season’s over for pete’s sake!!

    1. Well, he did drive the car, after all. Probably shouldn’t do that in a t-shirt and jeans!

      Dammit, look what you made me do. You made me defend Lewis! Now I feel dirty, lol.

      1. Get used to it. He needs all the defending he can get … and you’re right. It’s incredible that he can be criticised for driving an F1 car in his overalls. I mean, how disgraceful a person IS he?

        1. “I mean, how disgraceful a person IS he?”

          Incredibly disgraceful! I’ve he burps, and farts, and stuff…

          1. * I’ve heard he ….

        2. Ok S Hughes I’m sorry… I wasn’t being that serious.. jeez!

          1. Perhaps he should have driven in Prost’s used overalls $:)

          2. Ok S Hughes I’m sorry… I wasn’t being that serious.. jeez!

            I’ll let you off then! :)

      2. Well, he did drive the car, after all. Probably shouldn’t do that in a t-shirt and jeans!

        Someone who says that obviously hasn’t seen Vettel get out of the RBR car in shirt and jeans, a bootle of beer in the hand :)

  6. Eh? TAG extension? Does that mean the 2010 McLaren with Mercedes power will be badged as TAG and called the McLaren-TAG? If yes, this could be nice.

    Those days the Porsche engines of TAG rebadge. Sounds cool, but I don’t think this will happen. Only the TAG Heuer sponsorship that’s all.

  7. Wow, that first shot of the MP4-2C driving into the night illuminated by the lights…it’s positively glorious!

    I understand the need for tons of illumination as a safety/ease of watching thing, but this is how night racing should be run! It’s almost Le Mans-like!

  8. What wonderful pictures of Lewis – he’s so handsome.

    1. Ill take 1-10,
      for his job, money, lifestyle and who he wakes up next to every morning….

      He can have my flawless good looks..

  9. We need to elevate the conversation a bit…

  10. The 1986 car is soooo much preetier than the wing infested 2008 car.

    1. I’ve always regarded it as one of the best-looking cars. I quite like the ’08 car but both are waay better than the current crop of combine harvesters/routemaster bus wings….

      1. LOL… “Combine harvesters” – brilliant!

  11. I’m surprised Lewis could drive one of these, they have an extra pedal on the left don’t they?!

  12. Ironic that the kid in a Senna helmet is driving a Prost car.

  13. Keith, your question is part of a quizz on a french forum…So far, the specialists can’t give me an answer to your original question. It’s still ongoing…will let U know.

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