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McLaren christens its new factory by skidding a Senna
Forget cutting ribbons; McLaren’s new hypercar skids next to Ayrton’s F1 car
McLaren has a new factory. It’s in Yorkshire, straddling the border between Sheffield and Rotherham, and it’s where the company’s carbon tubs will be made. Rather than cut a ribbon and serve some cake to open it up, however, McLaren used it as an excuse to show its new 789bhp Senna track special in action.
There’s a carbon core in every new McLaren – the sports cars use a MonoCell, the supercars and hypercars a stiffer MonoCage – and up until now these have been built in Europe and brought across to Woking. When the Yorkshire factory is up and running, they’ll all be made in the north of England, raising the British materials that comprise a new McLaren from 50 to 58 per cent.
It’s called the McLaren Composites Technology Centre – MCTC for short, and not to be confused with the Woking base, MTC. McLaren gets the keys in April, and it should be churning out tubs by 2019, with up to 200 people being employed there.
McLaren’s invested £50million in the plant, and it’s all part of the company’s big plans between now and 2022 that’ll see £1billion invested in research and development and another 12 new cars. Yes, 12.
While cars themselves won’t roll off the Yorkshire line, one of their most key components will. And it’s not merely about upping how much of each McLaren sold is officially British.
“Taking control over manufacturing of the tub allows us more design flexibility,” says the MCTC project director, Ken Smart. “We can continually learn from the development process. Taking it in-house will up the pace of design and development.”
That suggests more diverse and intricately designed carbon tubs can be a nice little by-product of the project. McLaren is currently involved with The University of Sheffield, prototyping new tubs and their manufacture.
It’s also very keen to be part of the rejuvenation of an area that once thrived on heavy industries. The factory is on the site of a former coal mine, leading Smart to conclude that McLaren is leading the area’s “next carbon era”.
So, a rather apt place to give us a good look at how the Senna – which has carbon aplenty – moves around (and sounds) when presented with a shiny new factory floor. Let us know what you think below.