This week the first in a series of 'Evening With' automotive talks took place at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon.
After an interduction from Jeff Coope (managing director, British Motor Museum) this first evening presentation was given by Geoff Grose (chief engineer - Artura) and Sandy Holford (chief engineer - 750S) who led an interactive and informative talk about the development of the McLaren supercar.
Taking a close look at the McLaren Artura, the McLaren 750S and the McLaren MP4/12C, these two top engineers shared their exclusive insights into the direction and thinking behind these modern automotive icons.
The evening was hosted by Steve Cropley, editor in chief for Autocar and Trustee of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust.
With 2023 being McLaren’s 60th Anniversary year, there was no better time to discover more about how this iconic British marque’s relentless competitive drive has revolutionised the supercar world.
The McLaren MP4/12C (later just McLaren 12C) was launched in 2011 and some of the development testing was undertaken by Bruno Senna (nephew of the late great Ayrton Senna, with Senna winning multiple Formula 1 championships with the McLaren Formula 1 team). Bruno has experience in Formula1, Formula E and in the World Endurance Championship (with the LeMans 24 hours being the pinnacle).
Both the current at the time McLaren Formula 1 drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton also did some testing of the MPC/12C during 2009 and 2010, which including some videos for TV, including Top Gear on the BBC.
In 2011 The McLaren MP4/12C GT3 race car was launched at the British GT round at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, McLaren factory drivers Chris Goodwin and Andrew Kirkaldy at the wheel, with the car run as a factory run manufacturer invitation entry. The author was working at the circuit as a motor racing photojournalist that weekend so has an action photo of the McLaren MP4/12C GT3.
The evening was mainly arranged for the two chief engineers to be interviewed about the technical details about the McLaren 720S/750S platform and the newer hybrid McLaren Artura. The 720S/750S and MP4/12C were developed and manufactured at the factory at the Woking, Surrey factory with the engines coming from Ricardo PLC based in Shoreham-on-Sea in West Sussex.
The Artura model is built in the McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, which opened in November 2018. The centre is based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park which is one of a number of Catapult sites in the UK, each looking at different manufacturing capabilities.
At the end of the evening the audience of 180+ was given the option of asking specific questions, which was well received. At the end the audience got the chance for a close look at the three supercars, and take photos.
The excellent Audio Visual setup was provided by local Gaydon AV company Showman Event Support.