McLaren Automotive has opened a new £50m (€56.4m) carbon fibre production facility in Sheffield, Yorkshire, in a bid to advance its ambitions for “lightest in class” models.
The McLaren composites technology centre (MCTC) will aim to be a “world-leader” in innovating lightweight carbon fibre and composites to reduce weight and save energy in its future models, said McLaren in a 14 Nov statement.
Prototyping has already begun on McLaren's next generation of lightweight carbon fibre tubs, which according to the UK carmaker are “integral” to the agility and performance of its sports cars and supercars.
McLaren said the new facility would tap into the material and academic expertise within the Sheffield area, to pursue its ambitious Track 25 strategy, which envisages the launch of 18 new models or derivatives that are “lightest in class” by 2025.
“It is an important milestone for us as a ground-breaking, innovative car company and allows us to tap into the great energy, vitality and skills this part of the world has to offer,” said Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive, during the opening ceremony.
With local production, the percentage of the car - calculated by value - that is sourced in the UK goes up from 50 to 58%.
After completing trial tubs in 2019 and once fully operational in 2020, the MCTC will create over 200 direct jobs and produce carbon fibre tubs. The components will then be sent to the McLaren production centre (MPC) in Woking, Surrey, for hand assembly into cars, over 90% of which are then exported to markets worldwide.
The target is that the MCTC will deliver £100m of gross value-added benefit to the local economy by 2028 as well as supporting skills development in the region.
The facility was inaugurated in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the crown prince of the kingdom of Bahrain.