McLaren announces 50m supercar facility in Sheffield
Supercar manufacturer McLaren Automotive will open a purpose-built facility at the University of Sheffield, creating more than 200 jobs.
Based at its Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, the £50m Composites Technology Centre has been developed with the support of Sheffield City Council.
It will be responsible for the development and manufacturing of advanced carbon fibre chassis for McLaren Automotive’s supercars.
Professor Keith Ridgway, executive dean at the University of Sheffield’s AMRC, said: “This is a tremendous piece of news for the Sheffield City Region and a boost for its future as the UK’s centre for advanced manufacturing.
“In many respects it represents a new model that repositions manufacturing in Sheffield, taking it on from coal and steel to high performance components for the automotive, as well as the aerospace, sector.
“We will be working with McLaren Automotive on the construction of the carbon fibre chassis and further research, and we are talking with the supply chain.
“It is our ambition that supply chain companies will start to build factories here to supply the chassis plant.”
A two-year research and development programme, delivered by McLaren Automotive and the University of Sheffield, represents a reshoring of the manufacturing of car chassis to the North of England.
This was a key objective of Northern Powerhouse and Industrial Strategy policies, and training of McLaren apprentices will begin immediately.
Professor Sir Keith Burnett, president and vice-chancellor at the university, said: “This investment – and the innovation, jobs, training and opportunities it offers – is hugely significant for our region, the North of England and the UK’s global, industrial ambitions.”
The new McLaren Automotive facility is due to start construction early this year with the first pre-production carbon fibre chassis, built using trial manufacturing processes in the AMRC, expected to be delivered to the McLaren Technology Centre in the second half of 2017. Full production at the facility will begin by 2020.
McLaren chief executive Mike Flewitt said: “In 1981, McLaren was the first company to recognise the exceptional properties of carbon fibre, and we have designed the highly-technical material to be at the heart of every McLaren road and racing car ever since.”