McLaren reveals chassis tech for new hybrid Sports Series supercar

This is the new chassis that will underpin the next generation of McLarens, including electrified supercars that will take the Woking manufacturer through into the second half of this decade. 

Revealed in a single image, the new carbon-fibre architecture in effect replaces the Monocell which has underpinned McLaren’s production cars, through a couple of evolutions, since the original MP4-12C. It will be manufactured at McLaren’s £50m composites base in Sheffield and will be used first in the next McLaren Sport Series supercar that’s set to replace the 570 models next year.

The new chassis is not only designed to accommodate the batteries and electrics required for hybrid models. It incorporates fresh weight-saving techniques designed to offset the extra weight that comes with these components. McLaren says the first hybrid supercar to be based on the new architecture will arrive in 2021; it will be a key model for the brand, particularly with arch-rival Ferrari already having launch its first plug-in hybrid car, the SF90 Stradale.

McLaren Automotive boss Mike Flewitt described the new chassis as “every bit as revolutionary as the MonoCell we introduced with the 12C, when we first embarked on making production vehicles a decade ago”. 

He added, “This new, ultra-lightweight carbon-fibre chassis boasts greater structural integrity and higher levels of quality than ever before. Our advanced expertise in lightweight composites processes and manufacturing, combined with our experience in cutting-edge battery technology and high-performance hybrid propulsion systems, mean that we are ideally placed to deliver to customers levels of electrified high-performance motoring that until now have simply been unattainable.”

No technical details have been revealed on the hybrid McLaren but we’d expect it to use a twin-turbo V6 and be a full PHEV, with the capacity to travel around 20 miles on electricity alone.

McLaren Sports Series spy shots

Spy shots have already revealed that McLaren is busy testing its replacement for the 570S. The British brand will overhaul its entry-level Sports Series range early in 2021 using its new architecture and that new hybrid powertrain. 

The production model won’t look like this – our spy shots show a test mule wearing the bodywork of the outgoing McLaren 570S. The finished product will sport an all-new exterior and interior design, which will introduce new design themes for the brand but is being kept under wraps for now. 

However, there are a few visible changes between this test car and the standard McLaren 570S, including a pair of extended side skirts and a rudimentary high-mount exhaust system. The latter adjustment suggests this mule is being powered by an all-new powertrain and the bright orange “hybrid” sticker fixed to this development vehicle’s rear window also gives the game away.

It’s expected that McLaren’s new hybrid powertrain will comprise a smaller-capacity twin-turbocharged V6 and an electric motor. Like the old V8 engine, it’ll be developed by McLaren’s time-honoured engine partner, Ricardo and we expect total power output to increase of the 570S with an increase in weight.

The push towards hybrid drive forms part of McLaren’s £1.2 billion Track 25 business plan, which will see 18 new petrol-hybrid powered McLarens launched by 2025. The company says it is currently evaluating a new high-power battery pack for a full EV setup that will offer a claimed 30 minutes of electric range around a race track.

Find out what happened when we pitched the McLaren GT against the Porsche 911 Turbo S here…

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