By fusing carbon fiber with feathers, the supercar manufacturer has unlocked a whole new realm of performance.
Carbon fiber is the exotic lightweight material of choice for modern supercar manufacturers, but let’s be honest; it’s not really the natural order of things. If it were, birds would be made of carbon fiber because they fly, and flight is much easier when weight is kept to a minimum. Then again, carbon fiber isn’t particularly aerodynamic, and science is still learning about the wondrous aerodynamics of feathers.
You probably see where this is going. McLaren Special Operations (MSO) engineers certainly did, which is how they came up with the all-new Feather Wrap for the 570GT. The manufacturer combined the best of both worlds, creating nearly 10,000 artificial feathers with carbon-fiber veins.
Each feather is precisely 2.76 inches long and features a pearlescent lacquer coating. They are hand-applied to the 570GT in a parallel manner so as to take full aerodynamic advantage of forward movement. McLaren says the feathers vibrate at higher speeds, “further reducing drag by delaying the transition from a laminar to turbulent boundary of air.”
Also, the wrap only add 5.51 pounds to the car, so yeah, it all sounds totally legit.
“Our engineers and designers have long been inspired by nature in our aim to create the lightest and most aerodynamic shapes on the road. We call this biomimicry,” said Robin Crain, Biomimicry Specialist at McLaren Automotive. “And it was on a beautiful day walking around our Woking campus that one of us looked up at the birds circling our lake, then picked up a feather from the ground and placed it on a car…. That turned into a conversation with the craftsmen and women at MSO that led to the creation of the Feather Wrap.”
McLaren says the Feather Wrap will be an available option on the 570GT beginning April 1, 2017. Given the penchant for pranks on that particular day we were skeptical on the story, however we can confirm the accuracy of this release after receiving a clear “yes” from our magic eight-ball.
Gallery: McLaren 570GT Feather Wrap
McLaren Takes a Flyer on New Feathered Body Wrap
Feather Wrap now available as option for the McLaren 570GT
- Offered through McLaren’s bespoke division, MSO, and inspired by biomimicry
- 10,000 carbon-veined articifical feathers are applied by hand in a process that takes more than 300 hours
- A short video has been released at: https://youtu.be/sg4X9EdhCn8 .
McLaren, the creator of luxury sports and supercars from Woking, England, has announced the introduction of a Feather Wrap as an option for its 570GT model. Offered through the company’s bespoke division, McLaren Special Operations (MSO), nearly 10,000 carbon-veined artificial feathers are applied to the car’s body. The process, which is done by hand, takes 300 hours.
The 570GT was chosen as the initial recipient for the new body finish as it’s the McLaren most suited to long, flight-like journeys across continents. Such use is where the aerodynamic benefits of the feather, one of nature’s best inventions, is most noticeable.
Our engineers and designers have long been inspired by nature in our aim to create the lightest and most aerodynamic shapes on the road. We call this biomimicry. And it was on a beautiful day walking around our Woking campus that one of us looked up at the birds circling our lake, then picked up a feather from the ground and placed it on a car… That turned into a conversation with the craftsmen and women at MSO that led to the creation of the Feather Wrap.”
Robin Crane, Biomimicry Specialist, McLaren Automotive.
The synthetic feathers are 2.76 inches long and are coated with a pearlescent lacquer. They are applied to the car parallel to the forward direction, cushioning the effects of air flowing over the body of the car. The feathers act as grooves contributing to a reduction in surface drag. As the speed of the car increases the feathers start to vibrate, further reducing drag by delaying the transition from a laminar to turbulent boundary of air. Furthermore, the Wrap adds only 5.51lbs to the weight of the car - no more than metallic paint.
“We’re not usually ones to crow about our achievements but I think we’ve scored a birdie with this one,” added Crane.
The Feather Wrap will be available to order as an option for the McLaren 570GT on April 1, 2017.