McLaren celebrated a crucial stage in the construction of its new factory in the U.K. in the best possible way: by having a McLaren Senna perform donuts on the factory floor this week. The first new McLaren plant outside of Woking is the future McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC), located in Sheffield, Yorkshire, and it will supply the supercar maker with all the carbon-fiber tubs it needs when it opens in 2020. This means that McLaren will no longer have to import the carbon-fiber tubs for its cars from Austria — instead, they will be “locally sourced,” to put it in modern terms.
McLaren was planning to increase the amount of British-made content in its cars even before the Brexit vote — this isn’t some kneejerk reaction to last year’s surprise referendum and its significant trade ramifications. McLaren was planning the new factory with the intent of saving production costs and shortening the extended assembly line for its cars.
The new plant will be McLaren’s second, and it will employ around 200 people — 40 employees are already there in Sheffield, housed at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre while work on the plant progresses.
In a way, local production of carbon-fiber components by McLaren is overdue — this composite has been a part of McLaren DNA for ages, at least since the company introduced the first carbon-fiber chassis to Formula 1 all the way back in 1981.
But the sports car maker’s range has grown considerably just in the last five years: McLaren now has three product families that sold a total of 3,340 cars in 2017. The company is growing fast and it’s happening in the UK, a country that’s had more automaker failures than successes over the last two decades.
“Today is an important and exciting milestone for everyone at McLaren Automotive, as well as a personal honor, to officially turn on the McLaren sign at what will be our McLaren Composites Technology Centre when it opens later this year,” said Mike Flewitt, McLaren Automotive Chief Executive.
“It marks the continued development of the current 2,100 strong company and will bring new jobs to the Sheffield region, which has a proud association with advanced materials; first with steel and now a future to look forward to with carbon-fiber innovation and production for McLaren.”
Remember the Jack-O-Lantern paint spec in which McLaren introduced the new Senna hypercar? Yeah, we might pass on that one, too, because this all-black Senna spied at a gas station looks leagues …