What we have known for a while, ever since they released a teaser image of the new carbon-fibre tub, is that the new car is a replacement for the 650S. McLaren is publishing seven teasers before its official unveiling – so far the public knows the new car has 50 per cent more downforce than the 650S, an active rear wing the full width of the car and a new dihedral door design.
Of longer-term interest, though, is the rise and rise of McLaren Automotive, a company only formed in 2010, to build the brand’s road cars. The new car is one of 15 new models and derivatives pledged by the marque between now and 2022, part of the grand Track 22 business development plan that is CEO Mike Flewitt’s baby.
Is McLaren Automotive the blueprint for a successful British performance car company these days? It remains self-funding, describing itself as “fiercely independent”, and has pledged to invest £1billion in research and development by 2022 – 25 to 30 per cent of turnover is reinvested in R&D which is unusually high. The company is now present in 30 markets, with 80 retailers, which will rise to 100 and then stop.
The company has been consistently profitable since 2013, and production volume grew by 99 per cent year on year in 2016 – after taking on a second shift at the factory in Woking, they are projected to hit maximum volume of just over 4,000 cars a year, or 20 cars a day, in 2017. “And that’s where we’ll stay”, said a spokesman.