McLaren names Robert Melville as chief designer

Article by Christian A., on January 23, 2015

McLaren has appointed Robert Melville as its chief designer, leading a team of designers tasked with developing its future design language previewed with the McLaren P1. He will report to McLaren design director Frank Stephenson. Melville was a graduate of the United Kingdom’s Royal College of Arts in 2003 and became a part of McLaren in 2009.

In a statement, Stephenson remarked that Rob, for the past few years, has been involved in shaping the current visual identity of the McLaren brand. In the past five years, Melville has been a senior designer on the styling of the P1, 650S and the Sports Series entry-level model, previously known as the P13.

McLaren plans to unveil the Sport’s Series in the second quarter of 2015 and develop the vehicle into a range of cheaper models that should hike the carmaker’s sales volume. In 2014 McLaren sold 1,648 cars globally.

McLaren will introduce the P1 GTR hybrid supercar that is derived from the P1 at the Geneva auto show in March 2015. According to McLaren, the P1 GTR hybrid supercar will be its fastest and most powerful vehicle to date and will only be legal for use on a race track.

The track-only 1000PS McLaren P1 GTR will make its first appearance at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in limited production with only minimal changes to the Design Concept introduced only half a year ago. The most apparent change in the Geneva model is its styling.

It will be available to the lucky few joining the McLaren P1 GTR Driver Programme kicking off in 2015 in Spain at the Circuit de Catalunya. The design pays tribute to the yellow and green McLaren F1 GTR, chassis #06R, which has its own historic place as one of five F1 GTRs that led the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the historic McLaren debut 20 years ago.

From design concept to the race track

The McLaren P1 GTR has finished an intense and comprehensive testing schedule around the world after unveiling the Design Concept last summer at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. This has created modifications to the original that optimised streamlined performance and cooling.

The front track is 80-mm broader than the road-ready McLaren P1 and with its forceful-profiled front splitter, the car sits 50-mm closer to the road on centre-locking 19” motorsport alloy wheels with Pirelli slick tyres. The lower bodywork has a trimming of a smooth aerodynamic blade as seen on the design concept, which moves the airflow along the car's sides.

It retains the McLaren P1 road car’s lightweight windscreen, which is only 3.2-mm thick, and the side windows comprise motorsport-specific polycarbonate with a driver’s side sliding 'ticket window'. The chemically strengthened glass roof panels are now carbon fibre, giving the cabin a more intimate, enwrapped environment. The weight savings on the McLaren P1 GTR mean a 50 kg reduction compared to the road model.

Dominating the rear of the racetrack model, not found in the road version, is the fixed-height wing sitting over 400 mm above the sculptured rear body, a more than 100 mm increase to the adjustable wing of the road car. Working with the front-mounted streamlining flaps before the front wheels, the rear wing aids in increasing downforce by over 10 percent - up to 660 kg at 150 mph.

Set on lightweight carbon fibre pylons, the wing keeps the road car’s DRS (Drag Reduction System), trimming the pitch from 32° to 0° just by pushing a button on the steering wheel. Another daring and distinguishing feature at the back is its set of sizable dual exhaust pipes, made from an alloy of Inconel and titanium. This system saves over 6.5 kg over the already lightweight road system.

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Topics: mclaren, design

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