Touring McLaren’s High-Tech Woking Hide-Out

“Hidden away among woods and heathland on the edge of [Woking] is the headquarters of the Formula 1 team McLaren. Seen from the air, the McLaren Technology Centre resembles a yin-yang, one side the futuristic steel and glass building, the other an artificial lake (whose water helps cool the whole facility),” Tom Robbins writes for the Financial Times. “Starting [in July], McLaren will offer regular public tours for the first time.” Robbins joins a tour preview, beginning with “the one non-McLaren in the building, a tiny 1929 Austin 7 bought in pieces at the start of the 1950s by New Zealander Les McLaren.”

“He was intending to rebuild the car and sell it for a profit but his son Bruce convinced him to keep it and use it for racing,” Robbins writes. “Together they tuned it to raise the top speed to 140km/h and Bruce learned to drive in it, on a makeshift circuit marked out in the family’s orchard. When Les was unable to take part in a race due to gallstones, his 15-year-old son took his place, and won.

“Bruce went on to become a professional driver and engineer, came to Europe aged 20 and founded the company in 1963.”

Original article by Tom Robbins, Financial Times, June 17, 2023.

Tags: Bruce McLaren  Financial Times  Les McLaren  McLaren Technology Centre  

Dunedin Swimmer Erika Fairweather Wins in Doha

Dunedin Swimmer Erika Fairweather Wins in Doha

Erika Fairweather has won her maiden swimming world championship title with victory in the women’s 400m freestyle final in Doha. The 20-year-old from Dunedin is the first New Zealander to win…