When McLaren revealed the formation of the McLaren Automotive Company last month, they said that they intended building 1,000 cars a year by 2011, rising to 4,000 a year by 2015. But where? McLaren said they needed to build a new facility – after all, the current Woking set-up certainly couldn’t handle that sort of capacity – but they said they hadn’t decided where they were going to build it. Well, they obviously had, but hadn’t got the permissions confirmed at that point. But it would seem they now have, and the new plant is going to be in – Woking!
Not only is it going to be in Woking, but it will be built right next to the existing McLaren showcase headquarters. At least Ron Dennis won’t get lost on the way to work! It will comprise over 190,000 sq ft and provide employment for around 800 people. Construction will begin almost immediately, and will be completed in time for the launch of the New McLaren P11 (the Ferrari 430/450 sized competitor) in 2011.
But of course, you don’t need a facility of that size just to do the McLaren P11. The bulk of the facility will ultimately be turned over to McLaren’s ‘Baby’ car, the McLaren P8, which is intended to be much more mainstream, aimed at the Porsche 911 and the Audi R8.
But the car most McLaren fans want to see is the replacement for the legendary McLaren F1. The new Mclaren F1 has already been confirmed by McLaren designer Frank Stephenson, but is likely to be the last to arrive of the currently planned McLarens in 2014/15. Likely to feature a Mercedes based engine (in all probability the 6.2 litre V8 – which is also expected to be used in the Pagani C9 who are almost certain to use forced induction – but it’s not clear if McLaren will go the same route, having eschewed turbocharging and opted for a naturally aspirated engine in the original F1 (a BMW V12).
Whatever engine the McLaren F1 features, it is sure to be as much an automotive milestone as the original. It’s obvious to say that the new McLaren F1 will be a challenger for cars like the Veyron, the Koenigsegg and the Pagani. But the original McLaren F1 was not remotely comparable to anything built before (or since). We’ll just have to wait a few more years to find out.