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Will Semi-Autonomous Features And Hybrid Power Ruin The Pleasure Of Driving A McLaren?

Will Semi-Autonomous Features And Hybrid Power Ruin The Pleasure Of Driving A McLaren?

The Woking brand looks to the future, but what will consumers think?

The supercar segment is doing quite well these days, with expanded offerings across the board, from hardcore track killers, to everyday sports cruisers. McLaren is staying active, with plans to hybridize its lineup and add new autonomous driving features. But is it the right move for the supercar maker?

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Chris Goodwin Jumps Ship To Aston Martin After 20-Year Run at McLaren

Chris Goodwin Jumps Ship To Aston Martin After 20-Year Run at McLaren

British racer will help develop Aston’s Valkyrie hypercar

Chris Goodwin, McLaren’s legendary chief test driver, is jumping ship to Aston Martin. The 50-year old British race car driver is expected to play a key role in the development of Aston Martin’s Valkyrie hypercar after spending the last 20 years helping turn McLaren into the thriving supercar company that it is today.

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McLaren Finally Opens Dedicated Service Center for the F1 Supercar

McLaren Finally Opens Dedicated Service Center for the F1 Supercar

It was a long time coming, but F1 owners in the U.S. now have a go-to place to get maintenance work

When you have a car as important as the McLaren F1, the impetus is to do whatever it can to take care of it, even if it means shipping it to the UK for maintenance purposes. The distance and logistics of shipping the supercar are two of the biggest sources of headaches among F1 owners in the U.S. Fortunately, McLaren finally decided to open the country’s first ever dedicated service center for the almighty exotic. The center will be operated by McLaren Philadelphia but will function independently from the dealership’s main retail facility.

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2019 McLaren BP23

2019 McLaren BP23

McLaren’s spiritual successor to the iconic F1 could debut in 2018

As a successful race car builder since the 1960s, McLaren’s decision to launch its first road-legal car in the early 1990s made a huge impact on the British firm. Although the F1 was its sole vehicle for many years, and the SLR and then the MP4-12C stood as McLaren’s only offerings during their tenure, 2013 brought both the 650S and the P1. For the very first time, the Brits had two cars in dealerships. A couple of years later and the Super Series expanded to include more versions, while the more affordable Sports Series arrived to complete a trio of nameplates. Come 2017 and McLaren launched the Senna, a successor to the P1. But contrary to spy shots and rumors, the Senna doesn’t have a three-seat layout like the F1, which means that McLaren may be working on another flagship vehicle as we speak.

Okay, it may sound a bit confusing, so let me explain. When word got out of a successor to the P1, reports talked about a car codenamed the P15. It was supposed to be a more radical version of the P1 with a more powerful hybrid drivetrain. Later on, reports started talking about the BP23, also known as the Hyper-GT, a supercar with a three-seat layout with the driver in the middle, just like the F1. With no confirmation that McLaren was actually working on two different cars, the successor to the P1 was eventually believed to be the BP23. Now that the Senna is official, it’s pretty obvious that McLaren had different plans and will launch a new supercar soon. Whether it will hit the market alongside the Senna or go into production after the current model is discontinued remains unclear, but it will most definitely have the three-seat layout and a hybrid drivetrain.

The latter is more likely now that the Senna arrived as a gasoline-only model. McLaren said that half of its models will go hybrid by 2022 and the project should include the flagship models as the Sports Series line needs to remain affordable, thus use V-8 power only. But let’s find out more about the BP23 in the speculative review below.

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McLaren Develops Composite Body Armor For Health Care

McLaren Develops Composite Body Armor For Health Care

Bringing a whole new meaning to “speedy recovery”

We all know Formula 1 is a test bed for a variety of technologies that will eventually trickle down to the street. Now, McLaren is taking its go-faster know-how and applying it somewhere a bit unexpected – health care. The body armor you see here was created in response to a client’s request for a device that would help keep his organs protected after undergoing surgery. It’s called Invincible shield, and it protects the rib cage through the use of high-failure strain Dyneema fibers, as well as woven fabrics and a highly-toughened resin system. The construction and materials pull from McLaren’s F1 experience, and includes the same fibers used as side-impact crash protection in the race car. Essentially, this armor is made from the same stuff that’s going into next year’s F1 competitor.

The end result is something lightweight, but tough and rigid enough to protect the client. The armor was designed to be discreet as well, and was perfectly tailored to the client’s body to be hidden under a shirt. Responsible for its creation was McLaren’s Applied Technologies division, which apparently has a hand in developing health care products. “From digital therapeutics, to tailored human performance programs and bespoke medical devices, our aim is to innovate health care solutions that can be tailored for individual patients,” says Dr. Adam Hill, McLaren’s Chief Medical Officer. Yeah, I didn’t know McLaren had a Chief Medical Officer, either.

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The Wait To Order A McLAren 720S Just Got A Lot Longer

The Wait To Order A McLAren 720S Just Got A Lot Longer

If you’re looking to buy one, 2019 is the earliest you can score one

Like every supercar that arrives amidst hype and expectation, the demand for the McLaren 720S was always going to be high. Still, the reception surrounding the new crown jewel of McLaren’s Super Series is reaching heights that very few McLaren before it have been able to do it. It’s now being reported that all examples of the 720S through 2018 are sold out. Gone. Better luck next year.

This revelation may be surprising on the surface, but it really isn’t, even when you take into account the fact that the 720S only made its debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. This is the nature of the supercar industry now though. Even the most expensive of machines sell out faster than ice cream on a hot August day, and as it turns, that’s exactly the case with the McLaren 720S. All in all, over 1,500 orders of the McLaren 720S have been placed with many of these buyers ordering two models of the supercar, one to use and another to send to McLaren Special Operations for some personalization work. Displays of wealth notwithstanding, buyers who missed out on taking delivery for the 720S on or before 2018 will still get a chance to buy one, either through McLaren or the secondary market. Those who opt for the former will have to wait a lot longer than they intended, but at least they could still get their hands on a 720S at a much friendlier price compared to going to the streets where they can get to own one sooner, albeit at a price that isn’t as forgiving to the wallet as what McLaren’s asking for it.

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McLaren Teams Up with BMW to Develop Next-Generation Drivetrains

McLaren Teams Up with BMW to Develop Next-Generation Drivetrains

New development project promises higher output per capacity than currently possible

British sports car manufacturer McLaren has announced a new strategic partnership to design and develop technology for its next generation of powertrains. The new project, which is part of the company’s "Track22" business plan, includes six different partners, including the BMW Group.

Details are scant as of this writing, but McLaren’s brief statement on the matter talks about "new combustion technology that will deliver a higher output per capacity than currently possible." The British brand also aims to further reduce CO2 emissions, while simultaneously increasing engine output.

Supported and partly-funded by the British Government through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), the collaboration also includes Ricardo, McLaren’s existing engine manufacturing partner. Grainger and Worrall will join in to deliver complex, lightweight casting technology, while Lentus Composite will contribute knowledge in specialist composite structure. Finally, the University of Bath will bring its advanced research and development capabilities in internal combustion engine systems efficiency.

"This is an exciting project that plays to the strengths of all partners. McLaren Automotive has an exceptional reputation for building the world’s finest engines, as showcased by our M838T and its previous category wins in the International Engine of the Year awards. We will continue to independently design and build our own engines, and the benefits of this project will help us accelerate the development of our next generation of powertrain," said Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive.

The result of this collaboration will most likely motivate all future McLarens, including the successor to the P1 supercar and the next-generation Super Series.

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McLaren Offers Aftermarket Personalization Options For Its Super Series Models

McLaren Offers Aftermarket Personalization Options For Its Super Series Models

Plenty of new accessories are now available to dress up your Super Series McLaren

McLaren counts itself as one of the most exclusive brands in the world and that status comes with certain standards and expectations. One such expectation is to have an extensive personalization division that can distinctive and dramatic design offerings that further enhance the exclusivity of its models. This is where McLaren Special Operations (MSO) takes center stage and just in time for the holidays and the coming new year, MSO is loading up on a lot of new extra options and accessories for its MSO Defined line that’s poised to take McLaren personalization to a whole new level.

The new wave of MSO options area available for current and future owners of any of McLaren’s Super Series models, which includes a wide range of models that run from the 12C to the 675LT. The objective here is to give these new models a fresh shine, so to speak. Whether it’s through exterior upgrades or interior amenities, the objective has always been the same: make these models more personalized to reflect the tastes and preferences of its owners.

For the exterior, McLaren Super Series owners can expect even more carbon fiber options because carbon fiber is awesome. Among the notable additions include a carbon fiber rear diffuser that provides improved airflow and weight reduction. There’s also new carbon fiber mirror arms that can be combined with matching mirror casings and just in case it doesn’t get mentioned, carbon fiber louvered front fenders are also on the MSO Defined menu now. This particular component is an important one since it saves close to 0.5 kilos (1.1 pounds) over the standard version. It’s also a nice nod to the automaker’s storied history in motor racing, which made good use of the material. Last but certainly not leased is a carbon fiber hood that provides visual and performance enhancements for any McLaren Super Series model that gets them.

Move to the interior and the carbon fiber treatment continues in waves. Carbon fiber vent bezels and sill tops are particularly noteworthy, in large part because they add more emphasis to the sporty and driver-focused architecture of a McLaren’s interior. The same can be said for the carbon fiber steering wheel and extended carbon fiber gear shift paddles. Not only are they awesome to look at, but their lightweight nature helps drop even more pounds from the car’s weight. Remember, a lighter McLaren is a faster McLaren.

The extended menu of upgrades included in the McLaren Super Series MSO Defined range should serve McLaren owners well, especially when they’re in the market for more exclusive options to add to their already exclusive supercars. Why even bother go the aftermarket route when McLaren’s MSO Defined range has what you’re looking for, right?

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McLaren Built Its 10,000th Car

McLaren Built Its 10,000th Car

And it took only five years to do it!

British sports car manufacturer McLaren Automotive has hit an important milestone in December 2016, when it built its 10,000th vehicle. The 570S model finished in Ceramic Grey paintwork from the McLaren Special Operations "Defined" palette rolled out of the Production Centre assembly plant just over five years after the first car, a McLaren MP4-12C, was completed.

According to McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt, it took McLaren 64 months to build 10,000 cars. However, while the first 5,000 arrived after 42 months, it took only 22 months to produce 5,000 more. This figures speaks volumes about the company’s development over the last couple of years, and especially in 2016. Earlier this year, the arrival of the new Sports Series family, which includes the 540C, 570S, and 570GT prompted McLaren to add a second shift at its Production Centre in order to handle the extra volume. The move doubled the plant’s capacity from 10 to 20 cars per day. As of December 2016, the McLaren Production Center employs around 750 people out of a total of approximately 1,750 employees working for McLaren Automotive.

2016 also marked the announcement of the company’s third year of profitability in its first five years on the market as a vehicle manufacturer. This is unprecedented in the automotive industry. For instance, Tesla, which is considered a successful manufacturer, has yet to reach profitability in 2016.

McLaren also revealed that it’s on target to almost double its sales in 2016 compared to 2015, from 1,654 to "over 3,000 cars". The brand said that this volume increase is thanks, in large part, to the ramp up in production and success of the Sports Series models. I guess it’s fitting that the 10,000th car is a 570S. Speaking of which, this vehicle will be retained by the company in its Heritage Collection.

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McLaren F1 GTR "Longtail" Turns 20, Gets Artistic Photo Shoot

McLaren F1 GTR "Longtail" Turns 20, Gets Artistic Photo Shoot

British company celebrates 20 years since the F1 was upgraded to "Longtail" specification

The McLaren P1 supercar may be all modern and fancy with its fresh looks and hybrid drivetrain, but F1, which was launched more than decades ago gets nearly as much attention nowadays. Introduced in 1992 as the most innovative supercar of its time, the F1 went racing in 1995 and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in its maiden season. In November 1996, McLaren rolled out an upgraded GTR "Longtail" model, which wasn’t as successful as the original GTR on the race track but it’s considered one of the most exotic McLarens ever built. With the "Longtail" exactly 20 years old as of November 2016, McLaren celebrates by releasing a handful of high-res pictures of a Gulf-liveried example.

Developed for the 1997 racing season, the GTR "Longtail" featured a much longer nose and rear section, wider fenders and a bigger rear wing. A complete redesign rather than just an update, the "Longtail" boasted improved aerodynamic downforce in order to compete with prototypes such as the Porsche 911 GT1 and Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR. Unlike the exterior, the interior carried over from the standard GTR, but McLaren added a new steering wheel, gear shifter, and center stack.

More changes were operated under the hood, where a stroke reduction brought the BMW-sourced 6.1-liter V-12 down to 6.0 liters in an attempt to prolong its life and improve reliability. The gearbox was also replaced with a new X-trac six-speed sequential transmission with quicker shifts. FIA-spec cars were still limited to the 600-horsepower output imposed by the air restrictor, but cars entered in other series had their engines tweaked to generate as much as 900 horses. For a race car that tipped the scales at only 2,018 pounds, it was downright amazing.

But, despite its redesigned aerodynamics, the F1 GTR "Longtail" was unable to compete with the new Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR, which won the FIA GT championship with a comfortable lead. The McLaren teams finished second and third in the standings in what became the F1’s final official season in GT racing. At the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans, the GTR finished second and third, behind the seemingly unbeatable TWR Porsche WSC-95, but ahead of the 911 GT1 and several LMP cars. An impressive performance given the circumstances; one that McLaren takes great pride in given that the anniversary photo shoot was made with the Gulf-liveried, No. 41 "Longtail" that finished second at Le Mans in the hands of Jean-Marc Gounon, Pierre-Henri Raphanel and Anders Olofsson.

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McLaren Confirms Talks With Apple

McLaren Confirms Talks With Apple

No deal was made as British company continues to deal with the contentious exit of Ron Dennis

After initially denying that any such talks occurred last September, McLaren has done an about-face and admitted that it did have discussions with tech giant Apple over a possible partnership between the two brands. No less than McLaren chairman Mike Flewitt made the revelation to Reuters, saying that Apple “visited” and the two companies talked about what each other did in their respective line of work.

Unfortunately, the talks amounted to nothing, or as Flewitt said, “it never matured to a definitive proposition.”

What Flewitt meant by “definitive proposition” wasn’t made clear and could lead to a flurry of speculation surrounding the British automaker. McLaren is already in the headlines over the very public ousting of former chairman and company forefather Ron Dennis. The controversy rocking McLaren’s ownership status centers on the rift that developed between Dennis and fellow shareholders, namely Mansour Ojjeh and the Bahraini investment fund Mumtalakat. According to Reuters, the tipping point that led to the ouster of Dennis came when Ojjeh and Mumtalakat rejected a takeover bid from Chinese investors.

For his part, Flewitt didn’t dive into the details of the management dispute, although he did say that there have been a number of bids from several parties about purchasing the company, but Ojjeh and the Bahrainis were “committed to keeping the current shareholding in place.”

Based on Flewitt’s comments and Dennis’ own statement after his exit from McLaren, the former McLaren chairman appears to have at least been in favor of new investors joining the company and that Ojjeh and Mumtalakat were dead set against it, opting instead to retain ownership of the company. With Dennis now gone from McLaren, it’s unlikely that we’ll see Apple come into the picture with a takeover bid, although a partnership may still be in the cards.

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McLaren to Launch Ice Driving School in the Arctic

McLaren to Launch Ice Driving School in the Arctic

It looks and sounds awesome, if you can afford it

Winter driving experiences have become the rage these days as more and more high-end automakers have taken to the coldest parts of the world to offer customers the chance to drive their high-performance machines in the snow. Lamborghini already has its Winter Academy. Jaguar Land Rover has its Classic Ice Driving School. Even Porsche has its Driving Experience Winter. Now, McLaren is joining in on the winter escapades with the launch of the Pure McLaren Arctic Experience.

Anybody who is familiar with these programs know the similarities among all of them. One is that all these programs are set in some far-flung location, mostly somewhere around the Arctic Circle. Porsche’s Driving Experience Winter, for instance, is located in Levi, Finland, north of the Arctic Circle. For its part, McLaren’s Pure McLaren Arctic Experience will be located nearby in Ivalo, Finland.

Other than its location, the winter driving school is set up with plenty of activities for those willing to pay a premium to join in on the adventure. According to McLaren, participants will be treated to the finest luxury accommodations in the area, not to mention some time spent in a husky safari and snowmobile expeditions to God-knows-where. But the real highlight of the the Pure McLaren Arctic Experience is the opportunity to drive the McLaren 570S under the watchful eye of a team of professional drivers. Not only will participants get a chance to enjoy the unique driving experience that only a 570S can provide, but they can also learn a number of tips and tricks on how to drive in snowy and icy conditions.

There’s a lot to like about McLaren’s Pure McLaren Arctic Experience. Sadly, the cost to join the program isn’t one of them. Those who want to partake must shell out over $15,000, and that doesn’t even include the round-trip flight to Finland. Everything else though is covered, so at least those who pay for the program won’t have to worry about lodging, meals, and airport transfers.

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McLaren Boss Ron Dennis Reportedly Stepping Down From His Role By The End Of The Year

McLaren Boss Ron Dennis Reportedly Stepping Down From His Role By The End Of The Year

If it’s true, it’s going to be the end of a remarkable era for the company

McLaren chief Ron Dennis holds many titles within McLaren, including chairman and CEO of McLaren Group. But a lot of people also call him the godfather of McLaren, a status afforded to him for the role he played in turning the McLaren Group into the global automotive, racing, and tech giant that it is today. He is, in a lot ways, the founding father of McLaren. However, reports suggest Dennis will leave his role as chairman and CEO of McLaren Group at the end of the year.

A report from Autosport revealed that Dennis’ contract with the company will not be renewed once it ends at the end of the year. No official reason was given on why Dennis will step down from his roles, but a number of scenarios have turned up, including Dennis’ failure to acquire full controlling shares in the group after discussions to purchase 50 percent of the group from the Bahraini sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat and another 25 percent from his business partner Mansour Ojjeh fizzled out because he couldn’t raise enough capital by the imposed deadline. Another reason that’s reportedly being attributed to Dennis’ exit is the continued struggles of McLaren’s Formula One team, which has failed to win either a driver’s title since 2008 and a constructors’ title since 1998.

For its part, a McLaren spokesperson has responded to Autosport’s inquiries about the situation, saying that, “In response to your question, Ron Dennis responded by stating categorically that he is not stepping down.”

In the event Dennis does step down, his departure from the McLaren Group will leave a gaping hole in the company. Jonathan Neale has been mentioned as a likely successor to Dennis. Neale is the current chief operating officer the McLaren Technology Group, which is made up of McLaren Racing, McLaren Marketing, and McLaren Applied Technologies.

McLaren Automotive, the road car division that we’re all very familiar with, is a separate entity from the McLaren Technology Group, so its own leadership will not be affected in the event Ron Dennis does call it a career.

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Ansar Ali Takes Over McLaren Special Operations

Ansar Ali Takes Over McLaren Special Operations

MSO and McLaren Motorsport brought together under the same management

McLaren Special Operations (MSO), McLaren Automotive’s bespoke division, has been brought together with McLaren Motorsport under one management structure, headed by Ansar Ali, the British sports car manufacturer revealed today. The newly-created arm will handle the creation and marketing of McLaren’s rarest vehicles, as well as growing the MSO Defined portfolio for series production cars.

MSO was also integrated into the Sales & Marketing department led by Jolyon Nash, a move that should bring McLaren’s bespoke division closer to retailers and customers. This also means that all the revenue generating areas of the company were brought together, which should simply the way McLaren handles its finances from now on.

Ansar Ali joined McLaren in March 2016 as Motorsports Director. Under his guidance, the British firm launched the 570S GT4 and 570S Sprint models. Previously, Ansar Ali was known for his work at Lotus and Caterham. Appointed as managing director of Caterham in 2005, Ali transformed the company that made continuation models of the Lotus Seven into a brand that had its own LMP-spec race car and Formula One team. He was also responsible for several new Seven-based models, as well as the Aeroseven concept.

Ali left Caterham in 2012 and founded his own sports car brand, Zenos. Established together with former Caterham COO Mark Edwards, Zenos introduced the E10 in 2015. At McLaren, his most important work is the launch of two race-spec version of the 570S. The 570S GT4 is already being tested in its first full racing season, before being offered to customers in 2017, while the 570S Sprint fills the gap between the standard, road-legal model and the more extreme GT4.

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