Mclaren the New Ferrari? Will It Work?
We all know that Ferrari is the biggest name in luxury supercar manufacturing, everyone has heard of them, everyone has yearned for one of those little red cars when they were 10 years old.
I certainly have.
Well, Mclaren has decided they want to be the new name in luxury supercar manufacturing. This isn't a new concept to McLaren, they of course created the fantastic McLaren F1 car which is not to be confused with the one Lewis and Heikki drive.
The McLaren F1 was once the fastest road car available until it was eclipsed by the Koenigsegg CCR. Only 107 were created at the Woking factory, five of which were LM models. If Lewis Hamilton can win three World Drivers Championships, Ron Dennis has promised to give him the last one available, which resides in the McLaren Technology Center.
Ferrari, on the other hand are old dogs when it comes to sports cars. With well over 300 different models of Ferrari conceived at the Maranello factory, McLaren have some work to do if they want to be the best in F1 and the real world.
The Mclaren F1 isn't the only car to be made by the McLaren boys. Mercedes have been working with them for many years, and the results have been outstanding. The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, praised by Jeremy Clarkson as the supercar for everyday driving was a huge hit.
Production has now ended, with the last Limited Edition SLR being auctioned off for charity, this also commemorates the end of Mercedes and McLaren's long-running partnership in the production car market, not the F1 world, so don't worry yet.
So what's next for the McLaren Group? Well, the P11 (pictured above). It is set to replace the £1,000,000 Mclaren F1, with a slightly cooler price tag of just £200,000. Expected to play with the big boys, such as the Ferrari Scuderia and Lamborghini Gallardo SupperLeggera, the P11 (which will be renamed at a later date) is set to launch McLaren into the world of supercar manufacturers, with two other models planned, McLaren could now be the car you want when your just 10, which has probably now passed for everyone on this site.
Why am I writing this, and what does it have to do with Formula One?
Well, I feel if Mclaren start to produce supercars successfully, this could become their main priority instead of the current priority, which is Formula One. With around 500 cars expected to be produced each year by the group, and with further models expected, this could rise to 2000, either a major expansion of the factory and staff is needed, or the F1 side of Mclaren will be toned down or even reduced in order to accommodate such a change.
Ferrari, who produces around 7,000 cars a year, handle a racing team and production team extremely efficiently, and this doesn't seem to effect the performance of either units. The supercar unit is doing very well with the new California, and the F1 side is doing very well, with the 2008 WCC bagged last week.
So will McLaren be able to pull off the same feat as Ferrari and manage two highly time-consuming activities, whilst not effecting the competitiveness of the MP-24, 25, 26, etc?
I can hear someone saying, well BMW, Honda, Toyota and Renault do it. But aside from BMW, are these teams competitive? Not really, although Renault is looking good for 2009.
With BMW, things are slightly different, the companies are much larger, F1 and production cars are kept separate, an engineer who works on a BMW Series Five will more than likely never see the BMW F1 car in production, unlike the Ferrari and McLaren boys who work on both and BMWs are built almost 80 percent by robots, whereas Ferrari's and the soon to be P11 will be hand-built.
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