McLaren Technology Centre

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McLaren Technology Centre
McLaren Technology Centre geograph-4478964-by-Alan-Hunt.jpg
Alternative namesFull Name: The McLaren Technology and Production Centre
General information
Architectural styleModern
LocationWoking, United Kingdom
Current tenantsMcLaren Technology Group (Technology Centre)
McLaren Automotive (Production Centre)
Glaxosmithkline (Centre for Applied Technologies)
Construction started1999 (Second phase of building began in 2010)
Completed2003 (Second phase of building completed in 2011)
Inaugurated12 May 2004
Cost£300 million (est.)
OwnerMcLaren Technology Group
Technical details
Floor count1 to 5
Design and construction
ArchitectNorman Foster
Awards and prizes2005 Stirling Prize (Shortlisted)

The McLaren Technology Centre is the headquarters of the McLaren Group Ltd and all of its companies, located on a 500,000 m² site in Woking, Surrey, England. The complex consists of four buildings, two of which are open. The main building is the McLaren Technology Centre (Home of McLaren Group). The others are The McLaren Production Centre (Home of McLaren Automotive), the McLaren-GSK Centre for Applied Performance (Home of McLaren-GSK Partnership) and the McLaren Centre for Applied Technologies (Home of McLaren Applied Technologies).

The main headquarters building is a large, roughly semi-circular, glass-walled building, designed by the architect Norman Foster and his company, Foster and Partners. The building was short-listed for the 2005 Stirling Prize, which was won by the Scottish Parliament building. About 1,000 people work at the Technology Centre. It is home to the McLaren Racing Formula One constructor and McLaren Automotive, the makers of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, as well as other companies of the McLaren Group. It was also the main setting of McLaren's cartoon, Tooned.

In 2011, the size of the centre was doubled after a second building, the McLaren Production Centre, was built. This two storey building is used for manufacturing cars for McLaren Automotive and also for some of McLaren Applied Technologies' products. Two more buildings are planned for the site to complete the complex, the McLaren Applied Technology Centre and the McLaren-GSK Technology Centre. These will sit beside the semi circular McLaren Technology Centre headquarters and the McLaren Production Centre.


  • McLaren Technology Centre: This is the main headquarters of McLaren Group and McLaren Racing Limited. This was the first building to open in the complex.
  • McLaren Production Centre: This is the main headquarters of McLaren Automotive. This was the second building to open.
  • McLaren-GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) Centre for Applied Performance: This will be the third building to open. Planning was submitted in 2011 and accepted after amendments to the plans in April 2014. Construction will begin 2015. This building was renamed the McLaren Thought Leadership Centre.
  • McLaren Applied Technologies Centre: Plans have not yet been submitted for this building. It will be the headquarters for McLaren Applied Technologies.


The building is accompanied by a series of artificial lakes: one formal lake directly opposite that completes the circle of the building, and a further four 'ecology' lakes. Together they contain about 50,000 m³ of water. This water is pumped through a series of heat exchangers to cool the building and to dissipate the heat produced by the wind tunnels. The main working space of the building is split into 18 metre wide sections known as 'fingers' that are separated by six metre wide corridors known as 'streets'. Facilities for employees include a 700-seat restaurant, a juice and coffee bar, a swimming pool and a fitness centre. An underground Visitor and Learning Centre is connected to the main building by a walkway.

A 145 metre long, rectangular-circuit shaped wind tunnel is located at one end of the building. Team McLaren uses it for testing and development of aerodynamic parts, as well as testing aerodynamic set-ups. The tunnel contains 400 tonnes of steel and the air is propelled by a four metre wide fan that rotates at up to 600 rpm.

The Technology Centre is intended to consolidate all aspects of the McLaren Group at one site, instead of the 18 separate sites they were at before. Ron Dennis, chairman, CEO and part owner of the Group, is confident that the Technology Centre will attract the very best designers and engineers.


Work on the project, originally known as the Paragon Technology Centre, started in 1999 and about 4,000 construction workers were involved in what the Financial Times said "[was] claimed to be the biggest privately funded construction project in Europe."[1] In February 2000, DaimlerChrysler purchased 40 percent of the McLaren Group and McLaren subsequently announced it would build the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren at the new facility.[1]

Dennis explained one of his rationales for the project in 2000: "Put a man in a dark room, he's hot, it smells bad, versus a guy in a cool room, well-lit, smells nice... When you throw a decision at those two individuals, who's going to be better equipped to effect good judgment and make a good decision?"[2]

McLaren employees started using the facility in May 2003.[3] McLaren has not disclosed the project's cost, but BBC News has suggested a figure of GB£300m.[3]

A second facility, the McLaren Production Centre has been built opposite the building in 2011, it serves as the production site of McLaren Automotive's road cars, including the MP4-12C.

Panoramic view of the McLaren Technology Centre


  1. ^ a b Griffiths, John. "McLaren to build Mercedes sports car at Pounds 200m complex" Financial Times. 9 February 2000 Retrieved on 2007-05-26.
  2. ^ Spurgeon, Brad (2000-06-24). "TAG McLaren Group Revs Up Off Track". International Herald Tribune. p. 9.
  3. ^ a b "Queen opens new McLaren facility". BBC News Online. BBC. 2004-05-12. Retrieved 2007-05-26.

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Coordinates: 51°20′45.0″N 0°32′54.0″W / 51.345833°N 0.548333°W / 51.345833; -0.548333