McLaren wants to take a leaf out of Lotus' book by focusing on "adding lightness" to its cars.
The British supercar manufacturer's CEO Mike Flewitt thinks that U.K. manufacturing can become a leader in lightweight materials to help make cars more efficient. His remarks came during his keynote speech to automotive leaders and policy makers at the SMMT industry summit in London where he called for a "weight race" to replace the "power race."
"We now have a fantastic opportunity for the U.K. to be at the very forefront of a new automotive 'weight race' that can help achieve increasingly tough environmental targets," said Flewitt. "While McLaren has a long history in using lightweight materials to boost vehicle performance, it’s something we are also heavily investing in as part of our future with the opening later this year of the brand-new McLaren Composites Technology Center in Yorkshire."
"It will lead to innovations in the technology going into our cars and not only provide a significant boost to that region, to jobs and the supply chain but also to the U.K.’s reputation for innovation," he added. "It is clear to us that to be successful in lightweighting, industry and government need to continue to work closely to ensure we all capitalize on the benefits for the sector, for the U.K. in general and also for vehicle owners who will increasingly demand more efficient products that deliver the driving attributes they expect."
McLaren has built a dedicated facility for producing lightweight composites, which opened this year, at a cost of £50 million ($66M). At the Sheffield facility, McLaren will develop ultra-lightweight and strong carbon fiber, as well as building the all-carbon MonoCage that forms the basis of all of its production cars.