McLaren opens its new carbon fiber center, with some royal help


McLaren Composites Technology Center in Yorkshire

McLaren Composites Technology Center in Yorkshire

For decades, McLaren has only operated one main production facility at its headquarters in Woking, England. That changed on Wednesday as the supercar manufacturer and race team officially opened its new McLaren Composites Technology Center.

The new facility is settled in Yorkshire, England, and it will be responsible for the production of the company's carbon fiber monocoques that form the basis of its supercars. Helping to open the site were Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

McLaren also touted that, on average, 58 percent of a new car from the brand is now sourced from the United Kingdom, up from 50 percent of local sources and production.

Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Work has already begun on McLaren's next-generation carbon fiber tubs, and trial production units will roll out in 2019. Once prototypes are completed, the company plans to go fully operational in 2020 and add 200 new jobs. Workers will build the tubs before they're shipped to the McLaren Production Center in Woking. 

Mike Flewitt, McLaren CEO, said the new carbon fiber tubs will be critical to new lightweight supercars planned as part of the Track25 business plan. The company vowed to create the lightest cars in their class, and carbon fiber will be a major part of the strategy. The new carbon fiber tubs will eventually be found in 18 new models and derivatives that are part of the Track25 plan. Also part of the plan is annual production of 6,000 cars by the year 2025.

The plan will also see every single McLaren car sport a hybrid powertrain in some form. This will include a successor to the McLaren P1 hybrid as part of the 18 new models in the pipeline. And it shouldn' be confused with McLaren's latest reveal, the Speedtail, the first of the 18 new models.

 
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