McLaren has repurposed its old Formula 1 factory in Woking to become a new composites facility and is also fully relocating its heritage department to the McLaren Technology Centre.
The new composites department will be housed in the factory McLaren used before its move the gigantic MTC facility two miles from central Woking in 2003 and it is set to open for production later this summer.
The team considers the investments in its new manufacturing process to be on a par with its other major infrastructure upgrades also set to be completed soon.
These include its new MTC-housed windtunnel and F1 driving simulator, as it is filling the new composites facility with the latest machinery required for such work, compared to the tools it was already using.
By moving the composites department to a dedicated solo facility away from the MTC, it is understood McLaren will make significant savings on the time taken to produce parts for its F1 machines, as well as the initial build process for new cars.
Speaking about the department move at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, McLaren team principal Andrea Stella explained: “I'm pleased to say that the old factory has been repurposed to become the new McLaren racing composite facility.
“That's actually on the final sprint, it will be completed in a couple of months. It's a remarkable project.
“And we have created some space at the MTC, which we will use for the heritage cars.”
McLaren also owns another building near the old factory site that is soon to be opened as the new composites facility, where it currently stores much of its collection of historic F1 cars – although there are plenty still housed at the MTC.
The warehouse holding the additional heritage machinery, pictured above, is also used to store spare kit – such as F1 weekend garage and pit wall parts – for McLaren’s race team.
It will continue to be used for housing such equipment once the heritage cars are moved and displayed permanently on the MTC’s famous forward boulevard area.
Motorsport.com was part of a select group of media to visit the building currently storing the heritage collection away from the MTC, with team chief operating officer Piers Thynne outlining why moving the historic cars and other elements – including original drawings for parts and laptops needed to start and maintain older cars – was an important development for McLaren.
“The heritage team is absolutely part of the Formula 1 organisation, and it’s an interesting story about why they’re there [in the current building away from the MTC],” Thynne said.
“We’ve done a huge amount of investment in various infrastructure projects across Formula 1 and that’s necessitated a ‘holiday’ in the warehouse longer than we originally wanted.
“But it links into our long-term infrastructure projects – of the wind tunnel, simulator, new composite facility and other works that are happening at the MTC.
“So, they’re there on a holiday, and they are coming back to the MTC by the end of this year, and quite rightly will be front of house on the boulevard.
“It’s really important that we have those showcase vehicles around us to always remind everybody that we have a long history.
“And any inspiration that [McLaren staff] might need beyond what we do on a day-to-day basis, you can see it on your way to lunch or when you go and get a brew.”