Conor Daly – McLaren Factory

Written by Team USA. Posted in Conor Daly, Driver Blogs

Published on October 28, 2008 with No Comments

Silverstone, England (October 28, 2008) – Today was one of the best days of the whole trip. We got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the McLaren factory. After seeing the new factory in magazines and on TV we expected something very large and flashy. Our expectations were absolutely blown away.

We arrived and were given a special key card and map at the gate. We were to use the key card to get into a parking lot to access a certain area of the building and the map, well that was for if we got lost! Imagine that, they handed us a map just to figure out where we were going at a Formula 1/McLaren road car factory! Josef, Jeremy Shaw and I eventually parked where we were supposed to and started walking toward this cylindrical shaped entrance in front of what looked like a massive space station. In fact it was the main factory building!

We entered and walked down this spiral staircase. When we got to the bottom we were a bit confused because there was a long white hallway full of nothing but two big doors. It looked like something from Star Wars. But thanks to our man at the gate and our map we had the directions and knew right where to go! So we walked all the way to the end of this hallway and entered a very nice cylindrical elevator which took us up to the reception level. We walked out and were above the main ground floor which contained all the prominent McLaren F1 cars and sports cars. The coolest part was that the building was basically all glass and right out front was a big lake that was practically part of the building! We started taking pictures but were immediately stopped and asked to delete them…

We started off the tour by looking at all the cars on display and the HUGE trophy hallway. Our tour guide, Neil Trundle, told us that the deal with the drivers is McLaren gets the actual race trophy and the drivers get replicas which I thought was interesting. But after checking the trophies out we got the privilege to eat lunch where EVERYONE at McLaren was eating. It was a VERY nice lunch buffet area that had an incredible view of the lake because it was level with the ground floor that we were on. I had a nice egg and ham egg compilation, some peas and corn, and a fruit mouse thing… I think… During lunch we sat with Lewis Hamilton’s data engineer which was very cool.

After lunch we set off to tour the massive structure that McLaren calls “home.” We went everywhere it seemed like. First we looked at the race bays, which were empty except for the test car because the race cars were already in Brazil. We then looked at where they were working on the 2009 McLaren F1 chassis which was very interesting. After this then we looked at where they produce the McLaren SLR road cars. This was a really cool sight to see because the SLRs are expensive cars that I don’t see often in America. We got to see all the high-performance bits and how they were assembled on the car. Neil said they produce two road cars every day!

After all of this we worked our way to the lower level and went through the machine shop. I was amazed by all the test bays McLaren has! They had a test bay for everything, brakes, brake ducts, radiators, gearboxes, engines, basically everything you can think of on the car they had a test bay for it to simulate race conditions. We then got a real treat to see the wind tunnel. We didn’t actually get to go inside the wind tunnel but we got to look around under it and see the structure of it. We also saw a 50 percent model F1 car that they use in the wind tunnel.

We got to do and see so many awesome things I don’t even remember if I have said everything! Neil was an excellent tour guide and a very nice guy to let us see A LOT of incredible things at the McLaren Technology Centre. I would like to thank McLaren, Neil Trundle, Jonathan Neale, and Martin Whitmarsh for giving us the opportunity of a lifetime.

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