The McLaren Group has beaten competition from hundreds of UK companies to achieve selection for an exhibition demonstrating the very best of British manufacturing this summer.
Throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Science Museum will host the Government’s ‘Make it in Great Britain’ exhibition – the culmination of an initiative launched last year by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which aims to challenge outdated opinions and transform the image of modern manufacturing.
As part of this initiative, one of McLaren Racing’s talented engineers, Bernadette Collins, has been selected as one of the young rising stars of the UK’s manufacturing sector. Bernadette was chosen for the passion and commitment she has shown to her career in manufacturing and will now go on to act as an ambassador for the campaign. This will see her engage with other young people in an effort to ensure that the next generation is aware of the great career opportunities in the industry.
McLaren, which has been building racing cars in the UK since the company was formed in 1963, epitomises the objectives the Make it in Great Britain campaign sets out to achieve. It will showcase three products which encapsulate the diversity of its activities, as well as demonstrating the lasting value of design and manufacturing to UK business. A Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car will feature alongside a McLaren MP4-12C sports car and a Specialized S-Works + McLaren Venge high-performance bicycle.
A Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car represents the cutting edge of motor sport technology, and, like all McLaren products, is designed and built at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking. It is a truly dynamic piece of design, constantly and rapidly evolving: over the course of a season, around 85 per cent of the car’s components will change. On average, McLaren Racing creates an update for the car every 15 minutes, seven days a week, 12 months a year.
McLaren Automotive has already produced two iconic vehicles – the McLaren F1 supercar and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. With the MP4-12C it aims to set new benchmarks in automotive design, performance and customer satisfaction. In 1981, McLaren revolutionised motor racing by bringing carbon fibre from the aerospace industry to Formula 1 for the first time. Three decades later it continues to break new ground. On the MP4-12C, even the areas customers won’t ever see or touch are revolutionary: its unique one-piece ‘MonoCell’ brings full carbon fibre chassis construction, until now only seen on low-volume elite vehicles, to the market at a far more accessible price point.
In November 2011 McLaren Automotive officially opened its new £50m McLaren Production Centre, the centrepiece of a £800m investment in R&D, manufacturing and highly skilled employment in the UK. By the middle of the decade this state-of-the-art facility will be producing a complete range of high-performance sports cars.
The Specialized S-Works + McLaren Venge is an example of how McLaren Applied Technologies crosses technical boundaries, bringing McLaren’s spirit of innovation to an increasingly wide-ranging portfolio of clients outside the world of motor racing. As one of McLaren Group’s most diverse and fast-moving businesses, McLaren Applied Technologies’ remit is a broad one, encompassing modelling, simulation, design engineering and human high performance. What underpins this, however, is a mission to achieve breakthroughs in performance using advanced technology and design in areas as wide-ranging as sports, sports systems, health and wellness.
For the S-Works + McLaren Venge, McLaren Applied Technologies worked with Specialized, one of the world’s leading bicycle manufacturers, to create an optimal blend of lightness, strength and aerodynamic efficiency. 2011 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Mark Cavendish rode one with incredible success, taking the coveted green jersey in the Tour de France and then winning the UCI Road World Championships, becoming the first Briton to wear the rainbow jersey since Tom Simpson in 1965.
In short, the McLaren Group does amazing things both on and off the track. From winning one in four of every Formula 1 races it has entered, to working with British Olympic teams to give their athletes an edge at this year’s London Olympics, to enabling clients to fast-track their products to market, McLaren aims to be a standard-bearer for UK manufacturing excellence.
McLaren Group Executive Chairman Ron Dennis said:
“At McLaren we believe passionately in the importance of making things. Not only innovating in design, but also steering those innovations through to final premium-quality assembly with our own hands. We aspire to be part of a grand tradition that goes back to the Industrial Revolution: great engineers such as George Stephenson, James Watt and Isambard Kindom Brunel, whose work brought enormous economic and societal benefit.
“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the UK’s refocus on manufacturing and engineering has not come soon enough. Moving our economy away from over-reliance on financial services makes long-term sense, and at McLaren we are fully committed to this philosophy. The future of our country is dependent on brainpower, and industry as a whole needs to encourage young people into the engineering and technical sectors by showing them that these are evolving, progressive disciplines.
“I am proud that our work has been selected as an example of British excellence and am delighted to share these examples of it. The Make it in Great Britain exhibition is a golden opportunity to change perceptions, to demonstrate to the wider public how exciting the world of high technology can be, and to inspire more young people to take up science and engineering as a career.”
Business Minister Mark Prisk said:
“Manufacturing accounts for 8 per cent of total UK employment and well over half of export goods, yet current perceptions of the industry are out of date and do not reflect that reality. We have selected a really exciting mix of exhibits, and I hope that as many people as possible visit the exhibition and see all of the great examples of British design and manufacturing – it will be spectacular.”
Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum, said:
“We’re incredibly excited to be hosting the Make it in Great Britain exhibition this summer. The Science Museum and its world leading collections demonstrate some of the greatest engineering achievements of the last 200 years. We hope that as many people as possible visit the exhibition, and see at first-hand how innovation in British manufacturing is still thriving today.”