McLaren’s new carbon fibre innovation and production centre

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Bahrain, officially opened McLaren Automotive’s new £50m production facility in Yorkshire, England. Photo McLaren.

A new £50-million (CAD$84-million-plus) McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) production facility has opened in Yorkshire, England.

The MCTC aims to be a world-leader in innovating lightweight carbon fibre and composites that will work together with future powertrain development to save weight and produce greater energy efficiencies.

Prototyping has already begun on innovating McLaren’s next generation of lightweight carbon fibre tubs that are integral to the agility and performance of its sportscars and supercars.

First announced in February 2017, construction commenced just five months later and following six months of fit-out, the MCTC is now the company’s first purpose-built facility outside of the current McLaren campus in Surrey.

McLaren’s ability to tap into the Sheffield region’s extensive materials expertise, skills, university resources, and dynamism will help it to continue to innovate quickly and launch 18 new models or derivatives under its ambitious Track25 business plan that are lightest in class.

The in-sourcing of the manufacture of the carbon fibre chassis also increases the average percentage (by value) of a McLaren car sourced in the UK by around eight per cent from its current average of around 50 per cent, depending on model.

McLaren 720S Carbon Fibre. Photo: McLaren

Carbon fibre has long been a part of McLaren’s DNA, the company having introduced the very first carbon fibre chassis into Formula 1 in 1981. Carbon fibre’s innate strength and lightweight properties mean that the company has never made a race car, sportscar or supercar without it since.

After completing trial tubs in 2019 and once fully operational in 2020, the MCTC will produce carbon fibre tubs that will be sent to the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) in Woking, Surrey, for hand assembly into cars, more than 90 per cent of which are then exported to markets worldwide.