Light weight and performance are defining philosophies at McLaren. But outright power alone is of little significance if a car's weight saps output or if that power is unmanageable and compromises the driving experience or results in unacceptable emissions.
Fundamentally, it is critical to keep weight as low as possible. Increased customer demands for safety and advanced features all mean that shaving weight is ever more difficult. However, at McLaren saving weight remains a passion and at the heart of the McLaren MP4-12C is a carbon fibre composite chassis: the Carbon MonoCell or `tub'.
This revolutionary structure is the automotive version of a McLaren innovation that started with Formula 1 back in 1981 and delivers weight savings, performance gains and occupant safety. It is a technology cascade in which McLaren brought carbon composite technology from the aerospace industry to make the McLaren MP4/1 F1 car, the first Formula 1 car to benefit from the strength, weight and safety of carbon fibre (CF).
The MonoCell weighs less than 80kgs. CF contributes to the car's low overall weight and it forms the structural basis for the whole car. The tub's torsional rigidity is considerably stiffer than a comparable alloy structure.
Lack of flex means the unique front suspension system, which is mounted directly onto the MonoCell, requires less compromise for flex of the suspension itself. Therefore, it is easier to develop the unique balance between fine ride and precise handling that McLaren has targeted.Published 9 September 2009