I was kindly invited to attend a lunch and McLaren tour by JBR Capital. Having never had a McLaren before, I was keen to go and find out more about them! I decided to invite my good friend Jo, familiarly known as @skullsandsnaps, an automotive photographer, fellow female petrol head and a good friend of mine. A proper girls day out!
After a lovely lunch in a local pub, we drove down to the McLaren entrance, to be greeted by our transport into the McLaren Technology Centre. The drive in was like something out of a James Bond film! A beautiful curved glass building sat on an enormous lake! Inside was just like I had been told, clean, white, quiet and very few people. We were greeted by George Farquhar, the VIP Relations Manager in another glass room containing a beautiful blue 570s. George passionately told the story behind McLaren, where it started off and how it developed into making road cars.
George continued to show his passion and dedication for McLaren whilst talking us through a long line of McLaren’s past and present, from Bruce McLarens Austin 7 from 1929, in which he had his first win at aged 15 having never raced before. Passing some gorgeous ex F1 cars that would have been driven by Mika Hakkinen, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna, to name just a few! All the way down the end of the line with the Hamilton Formula 1 cars and the P1. Amazing to see such iconic cars and hear all the stories behind them.
We were lucky enough to be able to look over their ‘Carbon Room’ where they hand mould the carbon parts using every day hair dryers and then baked in two Autoclaves, with another two larger ones below where the Monocells are baked. Neighbouring this is another glass room where they test the F1 pits stops, practicing their synchronisation, helping them maintain their pit stops to under 2 seconds to change all four wheels!
Next was a walk through a hall full of trophies onto the production lines. The room was very clean and white, much like the rest of the building but very hot and bustling with people, 570s spiders and 720s’ moving through the assembly stages and into small areas for testing such a Monsoon and Dynamic tests. George explained that these cars are then put onto ‘slave wheels’ & ‘Slave under trays’ are fitted for the cars to go out on road test.
By the end of the day I couldn’t help but feel inspired by McLaren and amazed with what they had achieved with road cars in the short amount of years they had been producing them. I now definitely look at McLarens in a whole new light and I can’t wait to see what amazing cars they develop in the future.