A royal visit — and not just from Northern Group members — has marked the opening of McLaren’s new northern outpost.
The McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) is a £50m development within the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Catcliffe, Sheffield. McLaren first announced the plant in February 2017. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain, officially opened it on November 14.
MCTC represents McLaren’s intention to “onshore” the manufacture of its carbon-fibre chassis. Currently Carbo Tech in Salzburg, Austria, manufactures the Monocell and Monocage chassis before McLaren assembles the cars in Woking. In future they’ll only have to make the trek down the M1.
It’ll be a while before the first chassis emerges from Sheffield though. At present the facility is all-but empty. McLaren will build prototypes only throughout 2019, with the aim to have MCTC fully online in 2020.
The Royal visitors, and Northern Group writers, did get a chance to see the process of how MCTC will create a carbon fibre tub. From cutting raw carbon sheets through to machining the mounting points in the completed tub, McLaren displayed all of stages of the build. This included the massive resin-injection machine which glues the dry-moulded sheets into their final form.
When fully functional, MCTC will create over 200 jobs and generate £100m to the local economy. It’ll also tap into local talent in the region’s higher eduction institutions and McLaren’s STEM ambassadors will work with local schools too.
Northern Group members also got the chance to visit the new McLaren retail centre in Leeds. This showroom is the eighth UK location and will feature a 12,000 square foot showroom and preparation area, catering to McLaren customers in Yorkshire and the North-East.