The power war in supercars is ending, according to the maker of a 710bhp runabout and a 789bhp road-legal race car.
McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt made the comments at a meeting of the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders yesterday, and added that a ‘weight war’ is coming instead. We’re fine with that: lighter cars are more fun, more of the time.
Lighter materials will be key to advancing both performance and efficiency, said Flewitt, noting that McLaren has been working quite hard on that area lately. The Senna, for example, features front wings that weigh just 600g each (vs 2kg on a 720S) and carbon seats that tip the scales at only 3.35kg each.
McLaren’s focus on new carbonfibre manufacturing techniques is said to be aimed not just at its own cars, but at others. The firm is opening a new Composites Technology Centre and low-volume car makers around the world could potentially be able to buy materials to help them meet their own weight and efficiency targets.
With the diminishing returns associated with R&D spend on combustion engines, lowering weight is becoming an easier and more effective route.
Speaking to the assembled industry delegates yesterday, Flewitt said:
“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.
“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 Centre 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.”