McLaren MP4-12C supercarEnlarge Photo
The most exciting news to come from McLaren Automotive is not that they have partnered with a company that makes all-carbon fiber monocoques. No, the best news is that McLaren is planning on introducing two more supercars. The first one is the recently unveiled MP4-12C (the “C” stands for carbon). No official word on what the other two cars are named, or even look like, but you can bet that they will be just as spectacular as the original F1 and the new MP4-12C.
McLaren's decision to use carbon fiber for the core of its car is the result of a breakthrough in the manufacturing process that has significantly reduced the cost of making hollow-formed, highly accurate carbon structures. Previously, carbon fiber monocoques were reserved for race cars and ultra-high-end, limited edition supercars like the Ferrari Enzo because they were too costly for use in less expensive cars. But manufacturing advances by Austrian manufacturer Carbo Tech have made the material economically viable for more mainstream high-end sports models. McLaren is now at the forefront of this trend.
Carbo Tech has built an all-new factory extension to its Salzburg, Austria facility that has the potential to supply McLaren with 4,000 monocoque structures annually.
The 12C will be the first of three cars that will eventually take the output of both Carbo Tech and McLaren to the planned 4,000 units annually. McLaren says that it already has 1,600 "firm orders" for its first supercar.