McLaren reveals new £50m research centre

Posted on 9 Feb 2017 by Fred Tongue

McLaren Automotive has announced that it will be opening a new composites research and manufacturing centre in Sheffield.

McLaren Automotive has announced the first details of its new Composites Technology Centre, which will be based near the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at the University of Sheffield.

The Composites Technology Centre, which will be set in more than four acres and housed in a purpose built 7,000 sqm building, will be the first purpose-built facility outside of the current McLaren campus in Woking, Surrey. It was formed through a partnership with the motorsport giant, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield City Council.

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The new centre will be responsible for the development and manufacture of carbon fibre chassis, which will be used in future McLaren Automotive cars. It will reportedly make use of the latest automated manufacturing technology and techniques in conjunction with the AMRC.

Work on the new centre is due to start soon, with the first pre-production carbon fibre chassis expected to be delivered in the second half of 2017, with the facility expected to be in full production by 2020.

The new centre will also create more than 200 new jobs through combined investment of almost £50m, and will potentially save the company as much as £10m. It is also hoped that the new centre will add £100m of gross value added (GVA) to the local area by 2028, with opportunities for expansion thereafter potentially doubling that number to £200m.

Bringing the production of carbon fibre chassis in-house increases the average value percentage of a McLaren car sourced in the UK by almost 8 per cent, from the current average of around 50 per cent, depending on the model.

Mike Flewitt, McLaren CEO
Mike Flewitt, CEO, McLaren Automotive.

At the launch event at the AMRC in Sheffield, Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive commented: “The now-iconic McLaren F1 was the world’s first road car to be built with a carbon fibre chassis and every car built more recently by McLaren Automotive has the same. Creating a facility where we can manufacture our own carbon fibre chassis structures is therefore a logical next step.”

“We evaluated several options to achieve this objective but the opportunity created by the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the University of Sheffield was compelling.

“At the AMRC, we will have access to some of the world’s finest composites and materials research capabilities, and I look forward to building a world-class facility and talented team at the new McLaren Composites Technology Centre.”