MCLAREN AUTOMOTIVE: THE LAUNCH OF A NEW CAR COMPANY

  • FIRST NEW GLOBAL MCLAREN RETAILERS OPEN DOORS TO CUSTOMERS FOR 12C AND ITS FUTURE  RANGE OF SPORTS CARS.
  • MCLAREN MP4-12C HIGH-PERFORMANCE SPORTS CAR NOW ON SALE WORLDWIDE.
  • NEW MCLAREN PRODUCTION CENTRE OPENED IN NOVEMBER 2011.
  • MCLAREN AUTOMOTIVE LAUNCHES BESPOKE SERVICES DIVISION; MCLAREN SPECIAL  OPERATIONS
  • MCLAREN GT TO SUPPORT EUROPE’S TOP GT TEAMS IN RUNNING 25 OF THE FIRST RACING DERIVATIVES OF THE MP4-12C .

McLaren has invested close to £800m since 2005 to establish itself as the newest truly  global car company. The first MP4-12Cs have started life at the new £40m McLaren Production Centre (MPC), a unique facility that will be the home of all future high performance sports cars from McLaren.

The first retailers in a global network of 35, from Toronto to Tokyo,  have now opened doors to bespoke showrooms, presenting McLaren with an opportunity to deliver 12C’s to over 20 markets worldwide throughout 2012 and beyond.

In addition, McLaren Automotive has extended its brand further with the launches of bespoke services and racing divisions, in the form of McLaren Special Operations and McLaren GT.

The new McLaren Production Centre

A new £40m manufacturing facility, the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) began  construction adjacent to the McLaren Technology Centre site in spring 2010, and celebrated its formal opening by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and McLaren Group Chairman Ron Dennis in November 2011. Now in 2012, MPC is producing eight MP4-12Cs every day.

By the middle of the decade McLaren Automotive will be producing a range of premium carbon-based high-performance, highly efficient and very comfortable sports cars, featuring innovative and unique components. With core competitors looking to produce around double McLaren’s target, exclusivity, as well as ultimate performance, is guaranteed for McLaren  owners.

Alan Foster, Operations Director at McLaren Automotive said: “I am really proud of the team effort that has gone into ensuring the MPC was ready for production on schedule.

“Assembling a brand new technologically advanced performance car in a brand new McLaren-standard manufacturing facility was a huge challenge, and has not been without its teething problems, but we meet them head-on with passion and commitment. We’re as proud of the factory as we are of the car. That’s why our customers will be welcome to see their cars being built here. The MPC has to be both highly effective and efficient, and look  stunning: it ticks all those boxes.

“Designing a brand new factory also allowed us the opportunity to do it with no compromise. Like the car, it began with a blank sheet of paper. I believe it is therefore unique in that the factory has been designed around the manufacturing processes of the car itself. Every other car factory I have ever seen is compromised by fitting the car manufacturing processes into the shape and size of the buildings’ limitations. This results in more effective and quality-assured processes,” Foster concluded.

Construction of MPC started in March 2010, following a rigorous planning process that took into account all local concerns over the MPC’s impact on traffic, jobs, and the environmental and visual impact.*

As with McLaren’s MTC headquarters, the MPC was designed by Foster + Partners and care has been taken to ensure that the building fits perfectly into its environment.  Linked to the MTC by a subterranean pedestrian tunnel, production engineers and planners will continue to benefit from the instant access they currently enjoy to the design and engineering teams at McLaren Automotive and McLaren Racing.

Development of the MPC reflects McLaren Group’s approach to innovation in manufacturing  and engineering. Clinical precision and remarkable cleanliness are guaranteed. Test zones including a rolling road and monsoon wash are housed adjacent to a cutting-edge paint facility, and may be viewed from a mezzanine balcony at one end of the MPC assembly hall.

The 32,000-square metre two-storey MPC is located to the south-east of the MTC, sharing a  common language of details and materials: the new building is clad in aluminium tubes, the rounded corners of its rectilinear plan echo the curves of the MTC and the entrance, echoing the existing building, is a circular glass drum beneath the overhang of the roof canopy.

At just over seven metres high and embedded in the gentle incline of the site, the MPC is sensitive to its rural setting and is not visible from the nearby road. Further screening is provided by the extensive planting of trees, which are used to conceal the building within the green-belt site. The new building is also designed to be sustainable – the MTC uses the lake for cooling, so the roof of the MPC will support this system, collecting rainwater to complement a low-energy system that utilises displacement ventilation.

With the new McLaren Production Centre fully operational, it is anticipated that McLaren  will build up to 4,000 cars across its model range annually by the middle of the decade, a figure that will account for between three and four percent of the annual global market for premium sports cars.

The first ever McLaren global retailer network 

In 2010 McLaren Automotive announced it would launch the 12C through an exclusive list of  35 respected global retailers, located in 18 established luxury car markets.** Each retailer  was presented with a target to achieve unprecedented levels of quality in servicing customers and cars, to a higher level than any premium sports car business has ever  offered.

The first retailer in McLaren’s new global network to open its showroom doors was McLaren London, with a star-studded celebration at its One Hyde Park, Knightsbridge location on June 21 2011. McLaren Dubai was formally opened by Lewis Hamilton in early November 2011. At the start of 2012, McLaren showrooms had opened across Europe and North America.

Antony Sheriff, Managing Director at McLaren Automotive, said: “This is a tremendously exciting and challenging time for us; working closely with our new retailers to deliver the first 12C’s built at the new McLaren Production Centre.

“Our new retailers have delivered us between 12 and 18 months of orders for the 12C, which is tremendously encouraging. The early feedback on the 12C driving experience from new owners of the car is equally pleasing.

“All 35 of our retail partners will launch or open exciting new showrooms in 2011.  Many of them have presented the 12C to their existing network of customers at exclusive events in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, and the feedback has been overwhelming. These customers understand the technological innovation that is being introduced to the sports car market with the launch of the 12C, and I believe they also recognize we are committed to ensuring our retailers provide an ownership experience as bespoke as the car.”

New retailers will be appointed in future years, as the company moves to a global network of around 75 retailers in established and emerging markets. But exclusivity is guaranteed: even  Rolls-Royce will have more retail partners in its global network. The complete network and production numbers are planned to ensure both exclusivity and exemplary service for McLaren customers, and profitability for McLaren retailers.

2012 will see new retailers under consideration in Scotland, Austria, Sweden, Russia, and China.

McLaren Special Operations: bespoke services for McLaren sports car owners

For nearly twenty years McLaren has been closely managing relationships with owners of the McLaren F1, and more recently Mercedes SLR McLaren owners. The experience gained in responding to specific requests for unique performance and styling modifications to the legendary McLaren hypercar is a great foundation on which to launch a service that will now include 12C customers.

Paul Mackenzie, Special Projects Director at McLaren Automotive, with responsibility for McLaren Special Operations (MSO), said: “McLaren Automotive already offers 12C  customers extensive options to personalise their car.  However we recognise some owners have specific tastes and we have the knowledge and capability to design, engineer and produce almost anything a customer may desire for their 12C.

“The beauty of the car’s construction – around a carbon MonoCell – means that almost anything is possible as the body itself is purely an aerodynamic surface: it has no structural impact on the car’s dynamics. MSO will therefore consider almost any customer  requirement, from special colours, personal interiors, or even new body styles,” Mackenzie concluded.

McLaren Special Operations celebrated its launch at the exclusive Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2011 by presenting an example of the groundbreaking new MP4-12C, finished in unique paint, and featuring a range of bespoke carbon upgrades and body panels inspired by the McLaren F1 GTR. A second MSO-designed 12C is painted in chrome and has been used on a number of occasions by McLaren’s Formula 1 drivers.

Bespoke treatment applied to the Pebble Beach car includes satin matte Volcano Orange paintwork, a gloss black roof, diamond cut finish wheels with gloss black inners, MP4-12C branded carbon sill panels, carbon steering wheel, front wheel arch louvres and carbon fibre engine cover vents, rear deck vent and wiper system cover.  Footage of the silk matte Volcano Orange and chrome cars can be viewed at www.youtube.com/mclarenautomotivetv

Back to the track: racing version of new MP4-12C marks launch of McLaren GT

With McLaren’s rich history of success in global motorsport, it was always likely that the new MP4-12C – regularly delivering circuit performance akin to a race car – would find itself in racing specification.

In spring 2011, the launch of McLaren GT was announced to the world’s media. McLaren GT saw McLaren Automotive, McLaren Racing, McLaren Electronic Systems and McLaren Applied Technologies join forces with UK race team CRS Racing in development and support of the new MP4-12C GT3 race car.

The new McLaren MP4-12C GT3 is the first McLaren car built for FIA GT series racing since the McLaren F1 GTR finished production in 1997. A team of engineers, designers and test drivers with vast experience in Formula 1 and GT racing has been assembled to undertake the process of adapting the carbon chassis-based 12C to racing specification.

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren Group Chief Executive Officer said: “McLaren has racing in its blood and it was a natural step to take our MP4-12C road car and turn it into an outstanding GT3 car.  Every car on the grid will have its performance balanced by race rules, meaning our objective must be to select a technical specification that ensures any driver is able to access the 12C GT3’s performance limit with ease.

“The 12C GT3’s design and development programme is as close as possible to one McLaren Racing would employ in developing a Formula 1 car.  The new team at McLaren GT adds experience in successfully racing GT3 cars, and we understand what is required to be successful in that level of competitive motorsport.

“McLaren Racing is able to bring new levels of technology to GT3 racing. No other GT3 car in 2012 will be supplied with a road-car carbon chassis, or a steering wheel and other associated technology from a Formula 1 car.

“The 12C GT3 will still be based on the 12C’s carbon MonoCell and the same steering wheel design employed by Lewis in his MP4-24 Formula 1 car. Plus, we are working closely with Formula 1 suppliers past and present: Akebono, Mobil 1, McLaren Electronic Systems, Ricardo and Michelin for example. This blend of road car and Formula 1 technology and experience will be a great advantage to anyone racing a 12C GT3 in 2012.”

McLaren GT aims to deliver the highest quality, most reliable and most driveable car on the GT3 grid when 25 cars are delivered to privateer teams for racing in Europe in 2012.

Customers for the first 25 MP4-12C GT3 race cars have been determined and are preparing  to race the 12C in 2012. Like the road car on which the 12C GT3 race car is based, demand has outstripped supply.

Production of the 12C GT3  has been deliberately limited, as McLaren GT plans to develop  close relationships and provide ongoing engineering support to its customers racing in 2012 and beyond.  This limited production run of race cars will be distributed among European-based private owners and race teams.  The list of clients for the new 12C GT3 racing in the 2012 season will include:

ASM Team;

Andrew Tate;

Apex Motorsport;

Boutsen Energy Racing/Ginion Group;

Doerr Motorsport ;

Gemballa Racing;

Gulf Racing;

Hexis Racing;

J.A.S. Motorsport;

Klaas Hummel ;

Leon Price;

Von Ryan Racing;

McLaren GT set the price of the new MP4-12C GT3 at £310,000 for 2012 cars. Customers of the car have been encouraged by the promise of no hidden costs and the opportunity to work with McLaren GT engineers throughout 2012 in developing the 12C GT3 to their own race specification.  McLaren GT plans to also offer its new customer teams access to a new version of the simulator programme employed by McLaren Racing and McLaren Automotive to develop race and road cars.

McLaren MP4-12C GT3 Technical Specification

Width (mm):  1995mm.

Height (mm):  1145mm.

Wheelbase (mm): 2670mm.

Fuel tank capacity: 120 litres.

Chassis/body:  McLaren carbon fibre MonoCell with aluminum front and rear frames and bespoke carbon body panels.

Aerodynamics: Front and rear diffuser, front splitter, dive planes and adjustable rear wing.

Transmission:

  • 6 speed sequential using actuation via steering wheel mounted paddles. Limited slip differential with a range of ramps and  adjustable pre-load.
  • Wet sump.
  • Sintered clutch hydraulically operated.
  • Driveshafts  with tripod joints.

Engine type:  V8 twin turbo McLaren M838T.

Engine capacity: 3.8 L.

Bore x Stroke:  93 x 69.9 mm.

Max. Engine speed:  Limited to 7500 rpm.

Cylinder block : Cast aluminium , 90 deg V angle, dry sump scavenge, Nikasil coated liners.

Crankshaft:  Forged steel flat plane.

Pistons: Forged aluminium.

Conrods:  Forged steel.

Cylinder head: Cast aluminium with plastic composite cam covers, inlet & exhaust variable cam timing.

Valvetrain:  32V with 40 deg.  variable cam timing on intake & exhaust. Low mass with sliding contact end pivoted pinger followers, single variable rate springs and hollow cast chilled iron camshafts.

Intake system: Two water/air charge air coolers. Plastic  composite plenum.

Exhaust system:  Cast stainless steel exhaust manifold with compact MHI fixed geometry turbo chargers.  970 deg.  C turbine inlet temperature.

Fuel system:  Returnless fuel rail with twin fuel tank mounted pumps and twin spray injectors.

Engine management:

  • MESL TAG400 ECU & CIU 100.
  • Interfacing with Bosch ABS and Shiftec control units.

Wiring harness:  Modular installation: Engine, chassis, fuel cell.

Lubrication MOBIL1: engine and transmission.

Cooling: Air/water heat exchangers for engine water and charge air cooling combined with water/oil heat exchangers for engine, transmission & PAS.

Front axle:  SKF integrated axles with handed single wheel  retaining nut.

Rear axle:  SKF integrated axles with handed single wheel retaining nut.

Front suspension:  Double wishbone adjustable for ride height camber and toe.

Rear suspension: Double wishbone adjustable for ride height camber and toe.

Dampers: Coil over Multimatic dampers with DSSV technology with independent bump and rebound adjustment.

Front brake system: Akebono 6 piston monoblock caliper 378Ø x 36 mm. Iron ventilated disc .

Rear brake system: Akebono 4 piston monoblock caliper 355Ø x 32mm. iron ventilated disc.

Steering: Electro-hydraulic PAS.

Wheels:

  • Forged Aluminium.
  • Front: 12” x 18”.
  • Rear: 13” x 18”.
  • MESL TPS system compatible

Cockpit electronics:

  • Multifunction steering wheel with integrated driver display.
  • Central switch panel with systems display screen.

Steering wheel:  Derived from MP4-24 Formula 1 wheel retaining integrated driver display, paddle shift and switches.

Chapter appendix of information

*(McLaren Production Centre (MPC) timeline :

1 March 2010: ground-breaking and construction begins.

13 June 2011: Body Assembly operations begin in MPC with sub-assembly of rear crash structures attached to the carbon fibre MonoCell chassis of the MPC’s first car.

4 July: MPC Paintshop to begin operation.

11 July: General Assembly began – the first full day of production.

13 July: first complete McLaren MP4-12C left  MPC (having begun production on the existing McLaren Technology Centre production line), and was delivered to a McLaren London customer.

1 August: first MP4-12C to start and finish at MPC is despatched from MPC to a customer from McLaren Milan.

November 2011: McLaren Production Centre opening ceremony (exact date will be announced to media in due course).

** McLaren Automotive retail network

EU Regional Director: Christian Marti (German).

On-sale from Summer 2011.

McLaren London: Jardine Motors Group.

McLaren Birmingham: Rybrook Motor Holdings.

McLaren Manchester: Sytner Group.

McLaren Paris: Neubauer Group.

McLaren Monaco: Monaco Luxury Group .

McLaren Madrid: Grupo Guarnieri.

McLaren Hamburg: Merkur Hanseatische Beteiligungs-AG.

McLaren Frankfurt: Doerr Motorsport GmbH.

McLaren Munich: F1 Sportwagen GmbH.

McLaren Dusseldorf: Moll Sportwagen GmbH.

McLaren Brussels: Ginion Group.

McLaren Zurich: Schmohl AG.

McLaren Milan: Gruppo Fassina.

Middle East/South Africa Regional Director: Mark Harrison (British).

On-sale from December 2011.

McLaren Jeddah: Al Ghassan Motors.

McLaren Dubai: Al Habtoor Motors.

McLaren Abu Dhabi: Al Habtoor Motors.

McLaren Kuwait: Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive.

McLaren Qatar: Dana Motors.

McLaren Bahrain: Al Ghassan Motors.

McLaren South Africa: Daytona Group.

North America Regional Director: Tony Joseph (US).

On-sale from January 2012

McLaren Beverly Hills: The Auto Gallery.

McLaren Chicago: Lake Forest Sports Cars.

McLaren Dallas: Park Place Texas.

McLaren Greenwich: Miller Motorcars.

The Collection: McLaren Miami, Florida.

McLaren Newport Beach: McLaren Newport Beach.

McLaren Philadelphia: McLaren Philadelphia.

McLaren San Francisco: Price Family Vehicles.

McLaren Tampa Bay: Dew Luxury Motor Cars.

McLaren Toronto: Pfaff Automotive Partners.

Asia Pacific Regional Director: Ian Gorsuch (British).

On-sale from January 2012

McLaren Singapore: Wearnes Automotive.

McLaren Tokyo: MT International.

McLaren Osaka: Hakko Group.

McLaren Sydney: Trivett

McLaren Hong Kong: Sime Darby.

Text by: Clásicos al Volante.

Photographs by: McLaren.

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