McLaren will source the high-tech carbon fibre Monocell and Monocage chassis of its future supercars from Sheffield instead of Austria, in a £50 million investment that will create 200 jobs.
The firm is building a new Composites technology Centre next to the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC). Construction begins soon and the first road-going chassis will be ready by 2020.
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It’s the first time McLaren Automotive has built a facility away from its Woking HQ. The £50 million investment is a joint sum, by McLaren and Sheffield City Council, which is expected to benefit the local economy to the tune of £100 million by 2028 – and this could grow to £200 million if it’s a success.
It will also save McLaren around £10 million in parts costs.
Currently, around 50 percent of a McLaren supercar is sourced in the UK. Once the new Sheffield facility comes on stream, this will rise by 8 percent. When you’re talking about supercars costing well north of £100,000, that’s a significant boost to the UK economy.
The new McLaren Composites Technology Centre will occupy a 7000-square metre building on four acres of the AMRC. 150 employees will be production staff and 50 will be manufacturing support. The centre will also research and develop future carbon fibre chassis technology, as well as building today’s chassis.
McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt said that, in 1981, McLaren was the first F1 team to introduce a carbon fibre racing car, and every McLaren Automotive road car has since been built with carbon fibre. “Creating a facility where we can manufacture our own carbon fibre chassis structures is therefore a logical next step.”
But why Sheffield? Simply, because the AMRC’s case was so compelling. “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.”