Inside the beautiful machine.
Prepare. Commit. Belong. These are the words which feature on the wall of the tunnel deep inside the McLaren Technology Centre, affectionately named MTC. By the time you reach this point along the stunning sub terrain walkway, with its white walls and grey grill sleek lines, which wouldn’t look out of place on an Elstree Studios Star Wars set, you are prepared, have committed, and you do indeed belong.
Something very special awaits just a few steps away.
Before we go there however, let’s step back a bit. Sixty-nine years to be precise, back to when a thirteen-year-old Bruce McLaren worked on a wreck of a car, which his father had bought. With this car, Bruce would not only learn to drive, but incredibly at the age of fifteen, experience his first taste of the track. Fittingly, this intriguing Austin 7 greets you at the entrance to the MTC, marking both the start of an inspiring story of Bruce McLaren and your own journey at McLaren today. This perfectly restored little red racer could propel Bruce along at an eye opening 80mph; very impressive for the time and no doubt exhilarating being such an exposed drive. “Unofficially the very first long tail” grins your captivating McLaren tour guide for the day.
A few minutes earlier, as you drove along the sweeping arc around the lake on which the iconic Norman Foster designed MTC sits, your guide was waiting to greet you as a special guest of the embracing McLaren family, which you are now an honorary member. Your guide is a McLaren expert in every sense, which you are about to discover. In fact, the person greeting you may be even more McLaren than you had expected, as Bruce McLaren’s daughter, Amanda, personally welcomes guests from time to time.
With the exciting line up of special cars awaiting your perusal, it will not go unnoticed that the MTC is a very impressive creation itself. With the sweeping curves of the floor-to-ceiling glazed walls leading your eyes onwards, and the beautifully engineered materials used throughout (including the engine cylinder inspired lift), the building feels alive in its own right. You are inside the machine, and it is thrilling!
The racing pedigree is right here. Straight away you are in the presence of greatness; Hunt, Prost, Lauda, Senna, and Hakkinen, to name a few, are written on the iconic cars proudly displayed as a reminder of the passion, energy and success which McLaren Automotive is built on. Excellence surrounds you, and you can feel it (literally).
If the main hall illustrates the rich McLaren heritage, the past, then the future is exquisitely represented by the innovative Formula 1 area which sits alongside. Here you may be fortunate to see the cutting-edge development and construction of the current F1 cars, unless there is something particularly top-secret present, in which case, sorry but the windows will be frosted. Either way however, you will sense the heart beat of world class racing technology up close.
Beyond this point the rewards for the outstanding track achievements surround you, including over 400 trophies beautifully displayed in a shimmering corridor. Reward for several hundred McLaren team members is served here also in the restaurant, itself somehow mesmerising to watch; an army of the very best designers and engineers at lunch.
Your surroundings are about to change. You are now entering the aforementioned subterranean walkway which takes you across the site, to a truly special place. Special because it is the McLaren Production Centre, special because this is where your chosen McLaren supercar will be ‘born’. As you are guided through the final doorway, the vista which welcomes you cannot fail to bring a grin to your face. A stunningly orchestrated hive, where engineers are artists, hand crafting the beautiful cars moving step by step down the lines. You are now at one with the heart of the machine. Its workings laid out before you, viewed perfectly from your high vantage point.
Being a cherished Harwoods customer means that McLaren have been expecting you, and if possible, at this point your very own McLaren will be brought to your attention within the vast production hall. Customers of the illustrious Senna, with its limited run for exclusivity, could even have the opportunity to walk the dedicated line.
So, there you have it. You have entered the beautiful McLaren machine, you belong.
Bruce McLaren famously said “…life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.” You can sense, feel and see the results of many lives of achievement here, and you will remember this day for years.
You can discover the unique McLaren experience yourself by visiting the thrilling new McLaren New Forest showroom located in Bramshaw, set to open in late Spring 2019. For updates follow us on facebook @HarwoodsOnline and on Instagram /mclarennewforest