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More V8s on the way: McLaren extends relationship with engine builder Ricardo

McLaren recently announced that it would be extending its partnership with engine manufacturer Ricardo “into the next decade.” The relationship will produce V6 and V8 engines, including both hybrid and non-hybrid variants, at a time when most automakers are eying partial or complete electrification.

The two companies are intimately acquainted, having worked together since the McLaren 12C in 2011, and the partnership has already spanned 34,000 engines. Ricardo builds the engines in its facility in Shoreham, England, and ships them 50 miles to McLaren’s base in Woking. The engine builder said it would “make further significant investment” in its production facility and noted that it already employs more than 100 engineers and technicians on the McLaren powertrains project.

McLaren Automotive’s CEO, Michael Leiters, said that the new “high-performance, hybrid V8 powertrain will form an integral part of McLaren’s next-generation product lineup, delivering best-in-class performance and thrilling driver engagement.” Ricardo’s CEO, Graham Ritchie, echoed that excitement: “We are extremely pleased to have concluded this new engine supply agreement with McLaren Automotive for their next-generation high-performance V8 powertrain, which extends the long-term relationship between both companies into the next decade.”

Despite the enthusiasm, it’s interesting that McLaren is still homed in on gas V8s. Lamborghini’s entire product catalog will be electrified by the end of 2024, and the Italian supercar maker said it would release its first EV before the end of the decade. Ferrari plans to release an EV in the next few years and noted that 40 percent of its sales will be electric by 2030.

McLaren confirmed plans to design hybrid powertrains with this agreement, so it will be interesting to see how the company transitions over the next few years. In any case, the McLaren-Ricardo partnership has produced some impressive vehicles thus far, so there’s plenty to be encouraged about with this extension.

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McLaren wants to revolutionize engine efficiency with an all-star partnership

McLaren Automotive is reporting strong growth, as its sales volume almost doubled during the previous year; from 1,654 sold cars in 2015 to 3,286 cars in 2016. To keep that upward trajectory a reality, the company is aiming to overhaul its powertrain technology with help from BMW Group along with other strategic partners.

In a statement of intent published today, McLaren is announcing a project to develop “new combustion technology that will produce a higher output per capacity than currently possible”, while still achieving reduced CO2 output. A McLaren spokesperson told Autoblog that reduced emissions is also a goal of the combustion improvements. We expect to see the results of this effort sometime around 2020.

The McLaren-led project is backed and partially funded by the UK Government, through the Advanced Propulsion Centre. The APC is a think tank formed in 2013, itself standing as a 10-year joint effort between the UK Government and the automotive industry. There are five other partners in addition to McLaren, including McLaren’s engine-manufacturing partner Ricardo. BMW Group and casting experts Grainger & Worrall, which also produce parts for Aston Martin DB11 engines, are also in the list. Then there is Lentus Composites with their material know-how, and the University of Bath, who will be utilized for their advanced R&D capabilities. The project is sure to boost the existing credibility of the middle of England as an advanced automotive technology powerhouse, and it will be interesting to see which kind of power figures the end products will churn out – and in what kind of bodies the high-tech engines will be mounted.

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