McLaren unveil ‘biggest investment’ in decades with launch of new wind tunnel

Sam Cooper
McLaren's new wind tunnel

McLaren have been renting Toyota's wind tunnel since 2010.

McLaren have released behind-the-scenes images of their new wind tunnel as their aerodynamics team moves back in-house for the first time since 2010.

With the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) having first opened its doors in 2003, the team soon found some of their equipment was quickly becoming out of date.

The most prominent of those was the wind tunnel with McLaren deciding to close it down in 2010 and instead rent Toyota’s in Germany, but have always longed to bring everything back on site.

McLaren hope to start new era with launch of wind tunnel

That dream became a reality recently when McLaren unveiled their state-of-the-art wind tunnel on the site of where the previous one once was.

The project began in 2019 but the COVID pandemic saw the completion date pushed back with the wind tunnel now up and running.

The benefits of having an in-house wind tunnel are obvious. For starters, you save money by not having to ship parts over to Germany but also the turnaround of upgrades can be much quicker.

The wind tunnel is also one of the most secretive pieces of equipment a team has with access very much limited as to who can see inside.

To that end, McLaren have released some images of senior staff such as Andrea Stella and Zak Brown having a look around as well as drivers Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris being shown where they hope their race-winning car will be designed.

McLaren's new wind tunnel
McLaren have been renting Toyota's wind tunnel since 2010.

On the building of the project, director of R&D and technology Christian Schramm said it was the biggest investment since the MTC opened.

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“It was an enormous project and the biggest investment in [McLaren] racing since the construction of the MTC,” says Christian Schramm, Director of R&D and Technology. “It was an amazing team effort. There were a lot of sacrifices, extra hours, and extra shifts worked, both during the week and on weekends. This was a complex project, but the team’s hard work ensured we were successful.”

Engineering project manager Hannah Allan said: “Once the project had been approved, we carried out our design process simultaneously with the demolition of the existing wind tunnel. Demolition involved breaking down the old steelwork into much smaller pieces so that it would fit through the doors and out of the building. Looking at the empty space where the old test section once stood, we thought ‘there is no going back now!'”

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