McLaren opens new £50m carbon fibre innovation and production centre

McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC)
McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC)

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

The McLaren Composites Technology Centre (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.

Representatives from Sheffield and Rotherham Councils, senior local stakeholders and the 50 employees already employed at the MCTC were present at the event.

Chief executive Mike Flewitt invited the Royal guests to jointly unveil a carbon fibre plaque at the ceremony held at the new McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) in the Sheffield region.

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 Track25 business plan.

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% from its current average of around 50%, depending on model.

Carbon fibre has long been a part of McLaren’s business, the company having introduced the very first carbon fibre chassis into Formula One 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 create over 200 direct jobs and produce carbon fibre tubs that will be sent to the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) in Woking, Surrey, for hand assembly into cars, over 90% of which are then exported to markets worldwide.

Built on a former open-cast coal mine, the opening of the 7,000m2 building set over four acres comes just seven years to the week after the launch of the MPC in Surrey. The MCTC was largely designed, constructed and fitted out by local contractors with the support of Sheffield City Council.

The target is that the MCTC will deliver £100 million of gross value-added benefit to the local economy by 2028 as well as supporting skills development in the region.

McLaren Automotive www.mclarenautomotive.com

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