THE ‘key’ to the building that will house the new £50m McLaren Composites Technology Centre was handed over to McLaren Automotive today ahead of the final fitting out.
The centre – at the Advanced Manufacturing Park on the site of the former Orgreave Colliery in South Yorkshire – is where McLaren will innovate the process for making the ultra-lightweight and strong carbon-fibre tubs that are at the heart of all of its luxury family of sportscars and supercars.
The finished tubs will then be sent to the McLaren Production Centre in Surrey, where the company’s vehicles have been hand-assembled since 2011.
Ruth Nic Aoidh, McLaren Automotive’s executive director for commercial and legal, received the ‘key’ to the building from Owen Michaelson, the chief executive of Harworth Group, which has built the unit for McLaren.
She said: ‘Getting the key to the building that will house the McLaren Composites Technology Centre is a major milestone for us and the next chapter in our growth as a young, ambitious, innovative company.
‘It’s also an important day for all of the many individuals, organisations and suppliers who have supported and shared our ambitious plan to make the region home to McLaren’s second production facility. This project is also testament to their shared mindset and the region’s long association with advanced materials that we are able to draw on and benefit from.
“Over the coming months, the centre will be fitted out with the production equipment we need to become fully operational next year and support hundreds of skilled jobs.’
On display were the company’s current family of products, including members of the Sports Series and Super Series, as well as a rare appearance by the McLaren Senna, all 500 units of which have been allocated to customers.
Around 45 McLaren employees are already housed at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, and when fully operational the team will grow to around 200 people.
Carbon fibre has long been a part of McLaren’s DNA, the company having introduced the first carbon-fibre chassis into Formula One in 1981. Its innate strength and lightweight properties mean the company has never made a race car, sportscar or supercar without it since.
Also on hand to witness the handover alongside Harworth Group were a range of stakeholders closely associated with the build, including senior representatives from Rotherham Borough Council, Sheffield City Council, contractors J F Finnegan and architects The Harris Partnership.
The fitting out will see all the manufacturing equipment installed, including a giant press that will make its way from Germany this summer.
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