Sunday, 20 October 2013
Marketors visit to McLaren, Woking Saturday 19 October
Great Brands do make Britain Great! In 1963, Bruce McLaren founded the McLaren team. They contested their first Formula 1 race in 1966 and won their first F1 grand prix in Belgium in 1968. 50 years after the company's foundation McLaren has won 182 Formula 1 Grand Prix and 20 World Championships, with champion drivers Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton. To this day, the McLaren team still inhabits the rich values set forth by Bruce McLaren himself: pragmatism, humility and a solid belief in the strength of teamwork and the value of good, honest engineering. Celebrating 50 years from the initial car being created by Bruce McLaren, Court Assistant Edward Fulbrook kindly organised an absolutely superb and exclusive visit for twelve Marketors to visit McLaren Marketing at Woking. Ten years ago the very impressive Marketing Centre (with Heritage) at Woking, set in 150 acres of protected parkland, had been opened by Her Majesty the Queen and 2013 marks the company's 50th anniversary since the first car was brought to public attention. And what a first car! The group was introduced to Peter Stayner who is an absolute treasure chest of knowledge about McLaren, eminently and suitably titled a Partner Ambassador. Peter showed us the cars in chronological order - every Formula One car is built in the UK - and took us around the highly impressive and spanking clean engineering facilities - not a drop of oil in sight! Steve Morrow, also an absolute expert in Formula One racing, with his delightful wife, Sharon, answered many questions about racing. It appears that, rather than the car being key, the speed in which you can assemble your corporate hospitality (larger than any of the other racing teams!) by the side of the race course is one of the more important aspects of the business - the scale of money expended runs into millions! According to my notes,140 people work at the factory incorporated into the Marketing Centre, you can order a car at a minimum cost of £160,000 (£900,000 for a P1). As most cars are are made to order, there is a short waiting list of just a few months. 10 cars a day are produced. After a visit of over two hours we left the secure zone and drove to a local restaurant, Sands, and enjoyed continuing the conversation with Steve, Peter and Sharon. It was a great day and attended by the Master and Consort, Ian Barclay, Victor Chopin- John, Graeme Doctor, John and Kathy Fisher, Edward Fulbrook, David Pearson, Peter Rees, Marc Scott and Steve Wilson. Many thanks to McLaren.