This huge chunk of carbon fibre is the company’s all-new, flexible, lightweight vehicle architecture which will underpin its next generation of electrified supercars. McLaren has a long history of using carbon fibre and was the first to introduce the material to Formula One with the construction of the MP4/1 in 1981.
The new architecture, designed specifically to accommodate new hybrid powertrains, has been entirely engineered, developed and produced in-house at McLaren’s £50m Composites Technology Centre in South Yorkshire, opened back in 2018.
The new flexible vehicle architecture utilises new processes and techniques to strip out excess mass, reduce overall vehicle weight, while also further improving safety attributes. It will underpin the next generation of McLaren hybrid models as the supercar company enters its second decade of series vehicle production.
Hundreds of pieces of carbon fibre cloth are cut for every chassis, the shape and orientation of each cut piece is controlled by software to optimise the strength and weight of the finished chassis. Lasers guide the alignment of the cut material into 2D Preforms.
These preforms are then loaded into McLaren’s own resin transfer moulding process where the resin is infused while the parts are clamped together under force. The moulded lightweight chassis is then removed from the press and machined to accept the mounting of multiple components during the vehicles final assembly.
The first new McLaren hybrid supercar to be based on the all-new architecture will launch in 2021.