Behind the high-octane glamour and action of modern Formula 1, lies an intense dedication to heritage. This commitment was recently spotlighted when a hushed part of McLaren's storied past was unveiled to the world. It took three painstaking years for YouTuber Matty Amys to secure the required clearances to get inside, but the result is an exclusive peek into McLaren’s secret warehouse where a treasure trove of F1 history lies.
The McLaren name is synonymous with iconic cars, legendary drivers, and memorable races. The team is the home of seven time champ Lewis Hamilton's first WDC in 2008 and is famed for the legendary battles between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. This warehouse is the home to all of this famed machinery, and plenty more from McLaren's famed history in the sport of F1.
Guided through the warehouse by Piers Thynne (Chief Operating Officer of McLaren F1), Matt was taken through a journey that spans decades. From the wild machines of the early '60s to the technological marvels of the '80s and '90s, and up to the recent masterpieces, every era of McLaren's formidable presence on the track is represented.
While a handful of these mechanical marvels grace the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) as display pieces or find a resting place in its storage, the majority are housed in this covert warehouse. And it's not just about storage. McLaren harbours aspirations of a dedicated workshop, one designed to maintain and service these heritage cars, ensuring they're not just museum pieces but fully functional machines ready to take to the track.
Interestingly, the cars aren't the only components receiving meticulous attention. Tyres, earmarked for illustrious events like the Goodwood Festival Of Speed are preserved with similar diligence. But keeping these cars, especially their engines, in prime condition across eras is a challenge. As Thynne said, tending to a bespoke engine that has clocked merely 300 kilometres is an entirely different ballgame compared to managing a contemporary engine that's seen thousands of kilometres.
In a nod to McLaren’s forward-thinking, the warehouse seamlessly melds the past with the present. Beside traditional paper blueprints of every car are their digitised counterparts. This not only aids preservation but also ensures that McLaren can recreate or remanufacture components with precision, regardless of the car's age.
If you're a F1 history nerd like myself, the video below is a must watch. Check it!
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