Since 1981, McLaren has not built a car without a carbon fibre chassis. It was first seen on the Formula One grid in the McLaren MP4/1 and then in 1993 its first road car to debut a carbon fibre chassis was the McLaren F1.
It seemed a logical next step for this luxury sports car producer to find a facility where it can manufacture its own carbon fibre chassis. And it’s found such a facility at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).
The new purpose-built McLaren Composites Technology Centre will be housed in a 7,000m² building set over four acres and will be responsible for the research and development of future Monocell and Monocage carbon fibre chassis as well as the manufacturing of the chassis itself.
The first pre-production carbon fibre chassis, built using trial manufacturing processes in the AMRC, is expected to be delivered to the McLaren Technology Centre in the second half of 2017. Full production at the facility will begin by 2020.
The partnership will create more than 200 jobs, which will comprise approximately 150 production staff and 50 manufacturing support staff, through a combined investment of nearly £50 million.
Professor Keith Ridgway, Executive Dean at the University of Sheffield’s AMRC, said: “This is a tremendous piece of news for the Sheffield City Region and a boost for its future as the UK’s centre for advanced manufacturing.
“We will be working with McLaren Automotive on the construction of the carbon fibre chassis and further research, and we are talking with the supply chain. It is our ambition that supply chain companies will start to build factories here to supply the chassis plant.”