In 1981, McLaren revolutionized the construction of racing cars when it produced the first F1 car to use a carbon fiber composite monocoque – the MP4/1. Over the past two decades, the company has continued to make waves in the composites industry with its 12C, 650S and P1 models.
Last week, McLaren announced its venture into somewhat new territory: 3-D printing. McLaren Racing signed a new four-year partnership with 3-D printing specialist Stratasys, in which Stratasys will supply McLaren Racing with 3-D printing and additive manufacturing solutions. As part of the deal, Stratasys becomes the “Official Supplier of 3D Printing Solutions to the McLaren-Honda Formula 1 team.”
“It has become clear that motorsport’s reliance on rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing, and the ability to radically cut time to market, is increasing, and we look to being well served by our new alliance with Stratasys,” Eric Boullier, racing director of McLaren Racing.
As part of that alliance, Stratasys will supply McLaren Racing with its latest fused deposition modeling (FDM) and PolyJet-based 3-D printing solutions and cutting-edge materials for visual and functional prototyping, production tooling including composite tooling, and customized production parts. Stratasys says this will increase performance and productivity in design and manufacturing operations.
“We’re delighted to be working with such a restless, visionary and ambitious partner,” said Stratasys CEO Ilan Levin. “McLaren Racing will be leveraging our nearly 30 years of 3D printing and additive manufacturing experience to stay at the forefront of motorsport technological development. Stratasys will also gain invaluable feedback and insights from working with ultra-high performance automotive applications, which we can then apply to our mainstream automotive and aerospace customers. Equally, McLaren Racing will benefit from the superior productivity, engineering precision and wide gamut of materials that come with our 3D printing solutions.”