VIDEO: £50 million McLaren factory on outskirts of Sheffield moves step closer

Supercar firm McLaren marked a key step in the build of its new £50 million factory on the outskirts of Sheffield in the way only it could - by racing its latest sports car around the newly laid concrete floor.

Wednesday, 17th January 2018, 8:43 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th January 2018, 8:50 am
Mike Flewitt, chief executive officer for McLaren Automotive, outside the new factory.

Press from around the world gathered for a glimpse inside the McLaren Composites Technology Centre, on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Waverley on Tuesday, as its latest supercar, the McLaren Senna, performed doughnuts to "christen" the floor.

The centre, which will be where the company produces carbon fibre chassis for its cars, is expected to be up and running by November this year and will create 200 jobs once fully operational in 2019.

Mike Flewitt, chief executive officer for McLaren Automotive, outside the new factory.

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Mike Flewitt, chief executive officer for McLaren Automotive, said: "This will be a big step for us to take the production of carbon-fibre chassis in house but there was also the fact of how we build the factory and change our production process.

"We are only at this site today because of the fantastic support we have had from Sheffield City Council and Rotherham Borough Council. They have really supported us and we couldn't have done it without them."

Mr Flewitt said more than 40 employees are already based in Sheffield, working at the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, where they are working on creating carbon-fibre "tubs" (chassis) for its super cars.

"The bulk of the recruitment will be next year. We are doing bits and pieces with the team but most of it will be in 2019. We have gone from two members of staff to 42 already and the factory isn't even built," he said.

McLaren cars in the new factory.

Ken Smart, project director for McLaren Automotive, added that the roles will range from apprentices to experienced engineers and the majority of the recruitment will be carried out "in the second half of next year.

He said: "We didn't care whether it was Sheffield or Rotherham - we did a commercial deal with Harworth Estates, who are building the factory but we wanted to bring this production in-house."

Developer Harworth Estates hope to have the factory built by mid-April and Mr Smart said McLaren hoped to have its specialist equipment, including a huge carbon-fibre press, in place by mid-September.

Mr Smart said: "We will be making what we call the carbon-fibre tubs here. People need to know that the factory won't be making cars.

Mike Flewitt, chief executive officer for McLaren Automotive, outside the new factory.

"The process will see carbon-fibre rolls arrive, cut using fairly conventional fabric-cutting machines, pre-formed and then put into the press and checked and measured."

McLaren estimate that the factory will bring around £100 million to the region's economy over the first 10 years of production.

McLaren cars in the new factory.