The McLaren Group has beaten competition from hundreds of UK companies to be selected for an exhibition demonstrating the very best of British manufacturing this summer.
Throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Science Museum will host the British 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of an initiative launched last year by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which aims to challenge outdated opinions and transform the image of modern manufacturing.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 the 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. Chosen for the passion and commitment she has shown to her career in manufacturing, she 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, as one of its F1 cars will feature alongside a McLaren MP4-12C sports car and a Specialized S-Works + McLaren Venge high-performance bicycle.
The F1 car represents the cutting edge of motorsport 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, twelve months a year.
McLaren Automotive, meanwhile, 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 F1 for the first time. Three decades later, it continues to break new ground as the MP4-12C, even the areas customers won't ever see or touch, is 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.
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.
Even as its on-track prowess fades after a strong start to the 2012 F1 season, the McLaren Group can boast victory once in every four of its races, and will now work with British Olympic teams to give their athletes an edge at this year's London Olympics, as well as enabling clients to fast-track their products to market.
“At McLaren, we believe passionately in the importance of making things," executive chairman - and former F1 team principal - Ron Dennis noted, "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 Kingdom 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.”
The exhibition will be open from 24 July to 9 September.