jf musial: mclaren is a brandsynonymous with motor racing. formula one is the mostobvious connection. but mclaren was also involvedwith can-am racing as well as indycar. founded in 1963 by brucemclaren, a former racer himself, it's one of the fewbrands in the world that invests itself so heavilyinto racing. john allert: it wouldn'tsurprise you to know when you come to a building like thisthat everything we do is about
attention to detail. but it's not just attention todetail for detail's sake. it's always with anobjective in mind. and 9 times out of 10, thatobjective is winning. we have other businesses wherewinning isn't necessarily being first across the line--it's about being the best. but at the end of the day,everything we do is about being better than our peers,better than our competitors. jf musial: i haveto ask though.
you look at bruce mclaren'svision and actually what ron dennis-- how has mclaren transpired atafter all these years to be what it is, from thoseinitial idea? john allert: i think it'sbecause it's the shared value systems that bruce hadand that bruce imparted on his team. and then when ron took over,he had very much those same values, but then just took themto a whole new level, was
able to bring in greaterfinance. and that gave us the muscle tothen develop that vision and take it into other areas. jf musial: what i love, though,is that you stay close to your racing history. this is incredible. john allert: well, howcan we not stay close to our racing history? i mean, our racing historyis phenomenal.
and we've won 1 in 4 of everyformula one race we've ever competed in. jf musial: unheard of. john allert: we've been on thepodium for 50% of every race we've ever competed in. so it's a pedigree and aheritage that we are obviously very proud of. we're not an extrovert business,but we feel very, very proud inwardlyof that success.
and it's that success thatinspires the current generation of people at mclarento try and take it to another level. how do people feel aboutall of this heritage? jf musial: yeah. john allert: they feelenriched by it. you can't help but feelinspired by it. and it's one of the keyreasons that we have it all on display.
your reaction when you walkedin here is no different than anybody's reaction. which is, wow, there's a sennacar, or there's a prost car, or whatever it is. everybody has their particularera that they get excited about. and for me just as one person,to actually see some of the cars here every day that i'veactually stood on the other side of the wire fromwhen i was 12 or 13
years old, i get tingles. i get goosebumps justthinking about it. we've had people break down intears seeing some of the cars that you've walked past today. jf musial: walking into the mtc,it's as if you're walking into a science fiction movie-- long corridors with highlymetallic surfaces. you walk through hallwaysthinking trent reznor should score a soundtrack for all theguests to listen to as they
enter the place forthe first time. everything is spotless. everything is clean. you can tell everything isdesigned obsessively. and i'm not saying thatin a cold way. in fact, the architecture allowsfor so much natural light into the work spaces itmakes you feel awake, alive. john allert: this building was avision conceived in the kind of mid to late '90s.
jf musial: ok. john allert: ron dennis alwayswanted to bring the kind of the federation of companiestogether under one roof. we'd grown exponentially overa period of 20, 25 years. and we really were wanting thebenefits of being back as one kind of collective. jf musial: mm-hmm. john allert: we then wanted ashowpiece both for commercial reasons, so that we couldexplain to people the vision
of what we're all about andhopefully elicit their investment in us either assponsors, or partners, or in some cases, investors, butalso to make sure that we could recruit the best people,and get the best people to come and share in what it wasthat we were trying to build. and this facility reallydoes inspire the people who work here. and i think that ron really wasahead of time in creating something that people would justwant to be in, want to be
part of, as well as wellas the success of the business itself. to actually come to aplace like this is-- it's an awe-inspiringenvironment in which to work. and it's a little likegoing on stage. you really feel like you haveto up your game when you arrive here every morning. jf musial: it is an invitingexperience, which makes sense. the mtc opened in 2003.
and ron dennis was veryinfluential in its design. inside, you not only havemclaren racing but also mclaren automotive and thenot so well known mclaren electronics. walking in here, you look atthis, this is not what i was expecting at all. john allert: no, this looks-- jf musial: this looks likea scientific laboratory. john allert: i was just goingto say it looks like a
laboratory. but it's not. this is part of mclarenelectronics. jf musial: got it. john allert: so this is whereecus are actually being physically created. i mean, we're printing circuitboards in there. that's high-end stuff. it's not the sexy endof the business.
but it's very high-end. jf musial: ron dennis wantedthe building to attract the best engineers and designers. but more importantly, he wantedto keep them there. walking the hallways, you cantell everyone who works there has a sense of pride to beworking within those walls. john allert: it's actually--it's a very selfless culture. i think we attract like-mindedpeople here who ultimately want to win and what to do thebest they can possibly do in
whatever role they have. but they're selfless peoplewho want to come together as a team. and understand that actuallythe old cliche of 1 plus 1 equals 3, that if they can allcome together and be the best in their particular discipline,chances are that we're more likely tosucceed or to win. and we have a lotto live up to. we have 49 years of success.
in the time that we've been informula one, for example, there have been over100 formula one teams have failed-- have come and gone,left formula one. so this is no place forthe weak or the meek. and we're reminded of thosesorts of statistics every year when people either leave theautomotive sector or they leave formula one. and that's part of that pressureto make sure that
we're being the best. because it's a slippery pole. either in supercarsor in formula one, it's a slippery pole. and those that aren't near thetop have a real struggle. [inaudible] jf musial: now, past the windtunnel and the formula one work bays, we walk down a longhallway, all underground, very james bond-like.
you then hit a set of stairs. you go up. and then you walk intowhat is called the mclaren production center. this is mclaren automotive. this is the future of mclaren. lee boyce: so right now, thisis the north end of the mpc. this is a vip area. this is a hosting suite.
so this is basically wherepotential customers, or dignitaries, or any type ofvip can come to this area. and from this area, we leaddirectly out onto the production facility, justaround this corner here. lee boyce: and i thinkyou need to see that. jf musial: let's gocheck it out. so how old is this place? lee boyce: so we've beenoperating in here now for-- jf musial: whoa!
look at this! lee boyce: --eight months. jf musial: and you're in fullproduction at this point. that is incredible. lee boyce: we are flat-outproduction. and we have been now sincethe turn of the year. we have been at full capacityin terms of our planning requirements for this year. and for sure, everything, froma production point of view is
going absolutely beautifullyat this moment. jf musial: this is surreal. lee boyce: yes. jf musial: it's almosta [inaudible] room. and it mimics the mtc buton a different level. prior to the mp4-12c, mclarenbuilt my favorite hypercar, the f1, then after that, theslr, which was built right alongside the f1 cars. but now, for the new mp4-12c,it's an entirely new building.
the first thing i noticed therewas that there was a lot of unused space. mclaren has been aroundfor about 50 years. but mclaren automotiveis essentially an entirely new company. they built the mclarenproduction center knowing they would be building other modelsbesides the mp4-12c. lee boyce: actually, what you'relooking at now is the best part of 20,000 squaremeters of floor space on which
we want to producethe vehicle. we worked really hard to makesure that we could integrate all of the processes that wereabsolutely critical to ensuring that the assembly ofthis vehicle was felt on absolute personal level from anoperator's point of view, but also gave the customer areally good feeling that actually, his ownershipexperience didn't start when he took the car. it actually started at theplacement of order.
and therefore, if he wanted tovisit this facility, he could actually come and see hisvehicle being birthed. all of the technicians feel asthough they're involved in making that person's car. so it's not just a vehicle. they accept that there behindthat is a customer, and a valued customer. and we wanted to make sure thathis ownership experience started right here from themoment we first loaded any
components into the facility. if we keep taking alook down here-- jf musial: so this isphase 1 right here. lee boyce: so thisis absolutely the start of the process. so this is the mp4-12cmonococque right here. lee boyce: we didn't want anyfeel of industrialization in the facility. we wanted it to be a theater.
jf musial: [chuckles] lee boyce: it was reallyimportant to us that we create an environment where everythingfelt special and everything felt personal. and i think we'veachieved that. so what you don't see is youdon't see any significant levels of automation. you don't see clunking-- jf musial: you almostsee none.
lee boyce: --chains. you don't see any conveyors. you won't see air linesor anything like this. it's all very quiet. it's all very composed. and it's all very simplein its execution. if we take a look at some of theracking and what have you, there are a number of componentssuch as fastenings and such as brackets and thatwhere we can clearly hold
quite a decent level of stockholding lineside. and as you can see with thingslike these front long [inaudible], we've designedsome bespoke stillaging to allow us to-- jf musial: just forthese parts? lee boyce: just for theseparticular parts. and we have bespoke stillagingall around the facility. but i think what's a reallygood, tactile thing about what you're looking at right now isif you look at the diameter
and the radius of the bespokestillaging, it's absolutely the same as the radius and thediameter of the racking. as you could see, this is wherethe vehicle's being more and more progressed throughits build assembly phase. so the windscreen surroundis going on there. and the b-pillar cartingis going on here. so even though we have 100%confidence in the facilities, and the equipment,and the whole process with these guys--
and we are 100% confident-- that doesn't stop us takingevery single body, and it is every single body, andprocessing them into the geometric and surfacevalidation station. so this is geometric andsurface validation. so basically, everysingle body-- even though we're 100% confidentit's in a good place, we still want to measureit just to ensure that we don't get any quality driftin the overall body's vehicle
assembly status. jf musial: so this whole righere is just for measurement. lee boyce: so everything thatyou're seeing here is absolutely for measurement. so if we take a lotof surface points. we take hundreds ofsurface points. we take hundreds of geometricpoints on the vehicle to ensure that we know that the caris in a really good place dimensionally.
the body would exit thesedouble doors here. lee boyce: which are closedat the moment. then it will go into-- thisis the paint facility now. in essence, the vehicle throughthis paint facility is processed across two skids. the body goes on one particularskid and all of the other supplementary panelsgo onto another. this is the single biggest pieceof investment in terms of equipment in thewhole of mpc.
and so we've pushed all ofthe potential suppliers-- with regard to paintfacilities-- hard in terms of making surethat in their thinking, they've got absolutely what wewere all about in terms of an installation. so whilst all of them couldhave satisfied us technically-- that's not a problem-- we wanted to make sure thatthis was right as well.
this was really important forus to make sure that they understood our philosophies,our methodologies, and they clearly understand that from abrand augmentation point of view, whatever they installabsolutely complemented them. because what it creates is itcreates a completely different mindset of thinking forthe technician. what it demonstrates to thetechnician is that we've thought about their workingenvironment as much as we have the product and the customer.
because if we create a perfectwork environment for them, they can only ever give theirbest of themselves. and i actually think you getthat natural transfer into the vehicle there. and you get an upliftof in-built vehicle processing quality. i'm absolutely convincedof that. so what you're seeing herenow is worth seeing. this is what we call skid 2.
and it's just had itsbase coat applied. that won't go forward untilthey put the clear coat on those particular booths here. the whole facility-- eventhough we designed the facility such that ifwe wanted to put robots in here, we could. and whilst robots havegot great dexterity-- and they have-- and you can putall sorts of convoluted and complicated programs intothem, there's nothing more
dexterous than the human. and what a robot doesn't haveas well, he doesn't have the eye as well. it's an application process. there's nothing emotionalabout it. it's very clinical. it's just application. here, these guys can take aview on when they think they've done somethingabsolutely the
right way or not. and they've got an opportunityto do a level of reparation in the booth should a mistake havebeen made or should they see something on the vehicle,then they think, oh, that doesn't look quite right,there's an opportunity here to do that reparation. so [inaudible] this is an audit line. and so basically, when thevehicle has had its clear coat
put on, it goes intothe oven through those glass doors there. there's exits here. and this is the first pointwe do some inspection. every single vehicle getsa full surface quality inspection. the great thing about thisfacility is we have enough flexibility in here to alwaysdo a fix the same day such that it doesn't disruptour output
requirements for the process. so it comes all the way downthis particular facility here, shuffles across again, and thengoes into the polishing and final finishing site. every single car gets a fullflat and polish so that we raise the optical aspectof the vehicle. so we create a far greaterlevel of depth on the color itself. so you can actually lookinto the color.
and you're not just lookingat surface. you're actually lookinginto the color. frank stephenson: everything yousee on the car, we like to say it is done for a reason. which means that everything thatyou see has an effect on the overall performanceof the car. and more so also, when they dosay form follows function, that sounds niceand everything. but with this car, pretty much,
it's form equals function. what looks right works. what we've done is, of course,you have the two main intakes on the front which are foryour inner coolers. they specifically have to geta lot of very air in there very efficiently and dothe job of cooling. but also, we have whatwe call a splitter right here in the front. and that creates a lot ofdownforce, creates the right
feel for the roadwith the car. this area is very criticalunderneath. if you rub your hand underneath,you'll feel some, what we call diblets. they're little-- jf musial: oh, yeah. frank stephenson: --pumps thatactually straighten out the airflow underneath, things thatyou don't even see, but they're on the car.
i mean, every detail is reallytaken to the max on this car. this is what we calledbiomimicry. there's a lot of influencefrom what really works. some organisms in the worlduse this type of design feature for purpose basically. we have had a little bit offreedom with the headlights. this is where you can reallystart to give the car a little bit of a unique look. it's almost as if it's theeyes of the person.
eyes do give people alot of character. so we're not really influencingtoo much technology here. we are using high-techxenon lamps. but you can see that the actualform of your daytime running lamps sort of createsthe feel of the mclaren logo. jf musial: uh-huh. frank stephenson: we let thelight bleed through these three little slots herewhich are almost
like fins or gills-- jf musial: gills-- that'sexactly what i was going to-- frank stephenson:--of a shark. jf musial: --going todescribe as gills. frank stephenson: and that sortof-- when you're in the front, you look back and you seethat, it really gives the car its own unique look to it. another thing that we've reallyconcentrated on is keeping the cowl, the back ofthe hood, as low as we can for
full optimal forwardvisibility. so we pushed it quitefar down. that gives us a greatviewing angle from the driver's position. and one of the funny thingsthat you would not really notice unless you're actuallysitting in the car-- it's very interesting-- is that the centerpoint of the wheel is directly under the highestpoint of the fender. which means when you're actuallysitting down, you
know where your wheels areplaced to hit the apex. jf musial: because you see it. frank stephenson: because youknow that the farthest point you're looking-- or the highestpoint-- is actually the center of the wheel. so you can really place it-- jf musial: interesting. frank stephenson: --preciselythat way. really important is actuallythis blade that we have here
on the side. and although it looks kind oflike an element that we sat down and designed and had funwith, it really came out of the computer, out ofwhat we call cfd, computational fluid dynamics. and in our intent to make thecar as small as possible and center all the weight towardsthe center of the car, we've actually turned the radiatorsparallel to the direction of the car to get the weight, themass, all towards the middle.
this blade here has been doneon the computer such that it generates or actually keepsthe air attached to it. and it throws it in onan accelerated curve. so you get plenty ofcoin that way. so this blade is[interposing voices] very necessary. of course, it adds flavorto the car and makes it more unique. but it's there for areason, as i said.
another element that i reallylike on the car is what we call the air brake onthe back of the car. and we don't considerit a spoiler. it's not even usedas a spoiler. it's basically a wayof adjusting the braking on the car. so anytime you breakin anger-- jf musial: in anger-- i like that.
[laughter] frank stephenson: well, withintent to break, i guess, to slow down-- it goes 90 degrees. and what happens then is thatthe center of gravity actually moves back towards the back ofthe car and puts more weight on the back wheels so that youcan actually use the breaks in the rear a little bit more. a lot of the action is actuallydone by the wind
itself, not by pushing itup but releasing it. and then lift-- goup on its own. one of the design words that weuse a lot on the car is to actually-- for the language-- is actually to almost, like,shrink-wrap the surface. whereas a lot of cars addvolume, what we're trying here to do is take away volume. so you're almost, like,shrink-wrapping the metal over the hard points, which aresuspension mounts, or vision
angles, or head clearanceangles, whatever. so we're trying to minimize,take weight out of the car, by reducing the amount of surfacearea we have running. lee boyce: so this is basicallythe start of the trim and final partof the process. this is where we startlayering the car and installing it ready for us totake it to a point of-- jf musial: no wiring harness? wiring harness?
lee boyce: wiring harness--it's as simple as that. lee boyce: so we have theopportunity of being able to produce the same amount of carsin this facility as any of our competitors with theirlevels of industrialization. you don't actually need that. and we wanted to create adifferent blueprint for how to build cars. and if we take a look at thesevehicle ramps here, these are
a standard vehicle ramp. but we wanted to make surethat we put some nice architectural claddingaround it. and we made sure that we set allof the services underneath the tiles as well. so you do not see any lines. and that's why everythingis really clean. and it was really important tous that we didn't trailing air lines, and we didn't seetrailing cables.
this is a really interestingfeature in the facility. again, same diameter, sameradius, but what's really interesting here is that allof the services are in a trench here. lee boyce: so we have thistrench that runs the full length of the building. we have those in three or fourplaces across the building. all of the services actually gofeed up through the back of these tool cabinets there,so that all of the it
functionality is fed upthrough here as well. so you don't see anycables here. and if you need to usecompressed air or you need to use single phase electrics,it's all embedded within the facility. and you just don'tsee any cabling. every single operator isaccountable for his work. they work with what we call-- we have this little accessswipe system.
so when the car comes into thefacility, every single operator has to swipehis card. if we take a look here-- i won't do it because it meansi'll have to start assembling parts of the car. but he would swipe his cardacross the reader there. and then that locks himpersonally into that particular vehicle to undertakea certain amount of work on that particular car.
jf musial: he's responsible. lee boyce: he's absolutely100% responsible. now, we're getting intothe final stages of-- jf musial: i'm seeing a bunchof grease pen on here. so 248, 248-- so that's howyou identify [inaudible] lee boyce: that's howwe identify-- jf musial: [inaudible] lee boyce: absolutely. so this particular panelwas painted with
this particular body. so that we absolutely makesure we don't get any inconsistencies withcolor matching or anything like this. lee boyce: and not only that-- we want to make sure that thisparticular component is going to be reset with this particulardoor, so we get a really good fit and finish froma gap and profile point of view as well.
lee boyce: jf musial: got it. so what we're doing here now onthis particular station-- this is the geometrysetup lift. this is basically where we dotoe, camber, ride heights, and all of that sort of thing inreadiness for when we go into the dynamic rig. jf musial: cool. lee boyce: [inaudible] this is where we put thecar through its first
real dynamic load. so we do an enginefire-up further upstream in the process. and this is where we putthe car through some dynamic load here now. so basically, we bring the carup to temperature, check most of the electrical systems areworking, and all of the brains in the vehicle are communicatingwith each other. we do some brake activity.
we do some acceleration,deceleration. but just generally, put thecar through some immediate dynamic loads. lee boyce: so in essence,vehicle goes through a dynamic rig into the monsoon wherewe give it a full saturation of water. i don't know-- 16,000 liters in about 6or 7 minutes-- it's a huge amount of water.
car exits there. it then gets prepared, ready forexternal drive appraisal. they all leave throughthat door there. lee boyce: goes out on itsexternal drive appraisal where we put it through some moreaggressive loads. one of things-- when we werelandscaping the whole exterior, the outside of thefacility, what was really important to us was to tryand optimize the land around us as well.
so we've got cobbled sectionsof roadway out there which allow us to shake and rattle thecar a little bit just to loosen anything. go before we actually take iton the highways and byways. jf musial: ah. lee boyce: obviously, duringthe wetter seasons in the year, the car could come backwith some muck and what have you on them. and that's why we just have thiswash down rig here now.
so we just give the undersidea quick wash down and just make sure that the vehicleis fully cleaned before it exits here. it would sit normally on herefor 45 minutes, just to have a final drip-dry. we take a look at the vehicleafter its been out on an external drive. and what we do is we'rebasically checking to make sure that nothing has workedloose, there are no weeps, or
leaks, or anything like thatfrom any of the joints. lee boyce: there's been nodisplacement of any harness clips or anything like this. and everything [inaudible] isabsolutely how we want it to be-- a very, very criticalstation. we're getting ourselves readyto hand the car over to the auditors with what we perceiveto be a car that is acceptable for the customer. the auditors then give it areally thorough investigation,
an interrogation. and again, they go to the nthdegree of checking service quality, checking fit andfinish, checking functionality of all of the systems. jf musial: so that's it. these cars go to thecustomers, right? lee boyce: these cars are readyto go to the customer. jf musial: so where's-- jf musial: where's thecar i'm driving?
lee boyce: unfortunately,it's not one of these. but just for you, we haveone back at the base. lee boyce: ok. jf musial: thank you.