Wednesday, March 8, 2017

News: New McLaren marks carbon fibre future


Supercar manufacturer McLaren has unveiled its second-generation Super Series - with the next generation of key carbon fibre "tubs" set to be built in the new £50m, 75,000 sq ft factory that is planned for Rotherham.

McLaren will reshore UK production​ at a new purpose-built factory in the Sheffield-Rotherham Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) with a multimillion pound Composites Technology Centre responsible for the development and manufacturing of advanced carbon fibre chassis for McLaren Automotive's supercars.

At the Geneva International Motor Show, McLaren launched the new 720S, which is lighter, faster and even more dynamically capable than its McLaren 650S predecessor. It weighs just 1,283kg.

This is largely thanks to the new carbon fibre "tub" and upper structure, the McLaren Monocage II. This technology delivers extreme strength and rigidity in a lightweight structure and is the ideal base for any supercar.

For the 720S, lightweight aluminium and composite bodywork wrap tautly around the contours of the Monocage II to create what the designers call "a form with dramatic intent and striking beauty in equal measure."


In the first-generation Super Series models, the integrated carbon fibre structure stopped below the windscreen and windows but the Monocage II now includes the roof and extends over the engine bay. McLaren engineers have capitalised on the structural integrity of this to deliver unusually slim windscreen pillars and glazed C-pillars that taper from the roof in a distinctive teardrop motif.

Mark Vinnels, executive director - Product Development at McLaren Automotive, said: "The carbon fibre Monocage II structure at the heart of the new McLaren 720S provides exceptional rigidity and strength with low weight, enabling the strikingly thin pillars that are key to the futuristic design and excellent cabin visibility. Overall, this is a car that combines technology and beauty in perfect harmony."

Adam Thomson, body manager at McLaren Automotive, added: "Every road car that McLaren has ever produced has used carbon fibre as its base structural material. That's a technology that we've taken from Formula 1 and introduced into road cars.

"The Monocage concept was introduced on the 650S and has evolved through our P1 into Super Series. Monocage II weighs just less than 102 kilos and is assembled in-house at McLaren and becomes the building block for the entire rest of the vehicle assembly.

"Monocage II really makes 720S unique in its segment. It's a great expression of the carbon engineering that we have inside McLaren and allows the engineers here to really show their potential for what we are capable of delivering in carbon as a material. Our design team have done a fantastic job of the exterior styling of the 720S but I think the real success is on the engineering detail on the inside of the car."

McLaren Automotive and the University of Sheffield will deliver a two-year research and development programme, which will lead to the development of a production facility to build its carbon fibre chassis.

The new McLaren Automotive facility is due to start construction in early 2017 with the first pre-production chassis, built using trial manufacturing processes in the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, expected to be delivered to the McLaren Technology Centre in the second half of 2017. Full production at the facility will begin by 2020.

McLaren Automotive

Images: McLaren


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