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McLaren renews engine contract with Ricardo

UK engineering firm will continue to supply McLaren as it moves into its most ambitious phase yet

By Sam Sheehan / Tuesday, February 12, 2019

If you've been wondering who McLaren Automotive will task with building its engines as it embarks on its most ambitious period yet, we now have an answer: Ricardo. Yes, that's the same engine builder that the Woking firm has worked with since it launched back in 2011, meaning it's business as usual the manufacturer aims to electrify all of its core line-up.

But while Ricardo's involvement will continue to centre around the production of McLaren's oily bits, it could actually play a growing role in the electrification part, as hinted at in the firm's announcement. The Shoreham company said it is investing "in the production facility to accommodate additional product flexibility, new manufacturing capabilities, and further capacity", suggesting that engines might leave its site already mated to electric paraphernalia in the future.

That being said, McLaren's existing 4.0-litre petrol V8 is expected to remain the most ubiquitous ingredient in the line-up for some time. It was only introduced with the 720S in 2017, after all, and it provides the main source of propulsion to the 1,050hp hybrid Speedtail.

The new contract with Ricardo comes as part of McLaren's £1.2 billion Track25 plan, which laid out a schedule for 18 new cars to arrive by 2025. All of the brand's new core models will be electrified by the close of this proposal, with one possibly forgoing combustion power entirely as an all-electric hypercar.

CEO Mike Flewitt highlighted the importance of continuity during this period, explaining that "Ricardo shares McLaren's passion for exceptional performance, product innovation and quality". He said the company "has also become a trustworthy and reliable partner to McLaren in engine manufacture".

That, no doubt, is of utmost importance as McLaren readies itself for a fast-changing automotive landscape. So while we're not sure what form the line-up will take in the latter parts of the next decade, it's reassuring to know Ricardo's engine-building expertise will ensure McLarens retain the explosive, racing car-esque performance we've come to love for the next few years at least.

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