McLaren and BMW announced they will be working together on project to design and develop technology for the next generation of powertrains. For McLaren, the news comes off the heels of their recent announcement to partner with Stratasys to bring 3-D printing to Formula 1.
The goal of the McLaren/BMW project is to develop new combustion technology to increase the specific output—the amount of power per unit volume—of the engines in McLaren’s cars while meeting strict emission standards.
Neither OEM is a stranger to composite materials. The last time McLaren and BMW collaborated, the result was the F1 – a trailblazing vehicle that featured a great deal of composites. Their new project will incorporate the expertise of Lentus Composites – a leading UK manufacturer of composite products with 20 years of experience of laminating and producing composite products, including F1 parts, using prepreg. Their capabilities also include filament winding, RTM, and out-of-autoclave processes.
There has also been speculation that the project could incorporate BMW’s water-injection system, as seen in the BMW M4 GTS to cool the engine’s combustion chamber and boost performance.
Other partners in the project include Ricardo, which is McLaren’s current engine manufacturing partner; casting specialists Grainger & Worral, which will deliver complex, lightweight casting technology; and the University of Bath, who will bring their advanced research and development capabilities in internal combustion engine systems efficiency.
“This is an exciting project that plays to the strengths of all partners,” said Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive. “McLaren Automotive has an exceptional reputation for building the world’s finest engines. … We will continue to independently design and build our own engines, and the benefits of this project will help us accelerate the development of our next generation of powertrain.”