Ever thought about where McLaren stores all their Formula 1 cars from the past, apart from their Technology Center in Woking? A Video on YouTube by Matt Amys shows us around the McLaren secret warehouse that nobody outside of McLaren knows about, yet.
You could call it some kind of Area 51 but, instead of flying saucers and aliens, supposedly, they’ve housed legendary cars that molded Mclaren’s journey and brought it to where it is today. Look around the warehouse and one can see tires, transmissions, parts, and cars covered under a black cloth of their own. It is like a proper place for any car lover to be in for many hours, or even several days, perhaps.
The video in question took three years to get the necessary approvals so that we can now see what is inside McLaren’s secret warehouse. Also featured in the video is the Chief Operations Officer of the McLaren F1 team Piers Thynne who started off by saying that the collection of cars in the secret facility includes models from the early ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s up until now.
He also revealed that once the current McLaren MCL60 finishes its last race of the season, it is then declared a heritage car. After going through postseason testing, the car is flown back to the McLaren Technology Center (MTC) before being transported to the secret warehouse and stored there. Whatever is to carry forward from the existing car to the next year is kept aside to comply with cost cap regulations. Thynne also adds that the lack of space was a concern. So, they keep a few cars for display at MTC, a few cars in storage at MTC, and the rest of them are parked in the secret warehouse. McLaren plans to have a workshop in the future that can service the heritage cars on a rolling basis to keep them in running condition, and in good shape.
Have a look at the storage archives and you’ll find cars that are predominantly fabricated but, also include fully molded cars, in addition to cars with simple electronics, and complex electronics. The biggest challenge that lay for Thynne and the team is to remanufacture parts for any of the cars when there is a requirement. But the team goes to great lengths to keep the cars alive, like even making use of the ’80s and ’90s computers to deal with the electronics in cars from that era.
Most of the tires stored in the warehouse are used for demonstration purposes like the Goodwood Festival Of Speed, or The Velocity event in America. Thynne mentions that they want to keep all their cars running properly but the factor of running an old engine vs. a new engine is a bit of a challenge. He said:
“Bearing in mind the regulations of engines have changed hugely through the last 20 to 30 years, and we want to keep all of our cars running so how you approach an engine that may have had a life of 300 kilometers, versus a more modern engine that may have many thousands of kilometers, managing that is a complex task that they can be run this year, next year, and well into the future.”
The cars in storage are the cars that have entertained and inspired millions over the years. As a car lover, it feels great to see that they’ve got the best afterlife one can imagine. And the best part is, that they still come to life at the flick of a switch.