Carbo Tech to produce carbon fibre monocoques for McLaren sports cars

The MP4-12C, the first of McLaren Automotive’s new range of sports cars.
The MP4-12C, the first of McLaren Automotive’s new range of sports cars.

The order, believed to be world’s largest carbon monocoque order for series-production cars, will result in investment in a new production facility at Carbo Tech's site in Salzburg, Austria. Up to 100 new jobs will be created in construction of the new facility and in manufacturing the carbon fibre based monocoque.

Monocoques are one-piece passenger cells for cars made from carbon fibre composite.

Carbo Tech, a racing sport-oriented producer of composite components, will manufacture the McLaren designed carbon chassis (the MonoCell) for series production models of a new generation of McLaren Automotive road cars over the next 8 years. The first Carbo Tech carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) components will form the chassis of the McLaren MP4-12C, the first of McLaren Automotive’s new sports cars.

The 12C, and all future McLaren sports cars, will be of lightweight monocoque design.

Series production

“Our clear advantage over the competition was our ability to produce large carbon fibre components in series for McLaren’s cars to McLaren’s design," says Karl Wagner, CEO and CTO of Carbo Tech. "Our skill at industrialising what has traditionally been a very labour-intensive process was decisive."

"Working with McLaren Automotive in taking this fundamental engineering step in carbon fibre engineering and production will, we believe, enable carbon technology to establish itself ever more in motor vehicle production," he adds. "Carbon has now achieved the breakthrough into industrial production."

Carbo Tech has also developed an in-house technology that allows it to offer its monocoques at far more economical cost, according to Dr Ernst Wustinger, CFO of Carbo Tech AG.

“McLaren’s design and innovative foresight, along with our expertise and ability to rapidly develop these unique monocoques resulted in production costs for monocoques that are significantly reduced in cost over similar structures previously manufactured,” Wustinger says.

Carbo Tech has protected its technology with patents.

The carbon monocoque in the 12C weighs less than 80 kg and satisfies all crash test requirements for series-production vehicles.

New production facility at Salzburg

In order to manage the McLaren order, Carbo Tech has built a new production facility at its Salzburg site. Up to 4000 monocoques per year will be manufactured in the new 3500 m2 production hall over the next 8 years.

In the coming years up to 2014, Carbo Tech will take on around 100 new employees to handle this order.

“The order has a total volume of €150 million and is thus the largest order in the company’s history,” says Dr Ernst Wustinger of Carbo Tech. “In the year of the highest production alone that represents a volume of more than €20 million.”

McLaren Automotive

McLaren Automotive is the high-performance sports car company based at the McLaren Group, UK. It designed and built two of the world’s most iconic supercars, the McLaren F1 (1993-1998) and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (2003-2009). All McLaren road cars and racing cars since 1981 have been based on carbon chassis. From 2011, McLaren Automotive will move into series production of a range of high-performance, lightweight, carbon fibre based road cars designed  to challenge the world’s leading sports car brands. Launching with the MP4-12C, the new range of McLarens will be designed, engineered, developed and manufactured by McLaren, and sold through a new McLaren global retail network.