McLaren, the British motor-racing team, is set to change its wind tunnel testing practice this month. The transition will see the team utilizing its brand-new wind tunnel, located at their factory in Woking. This pivotal turn of events signifies the end of a 12-year long collaboration between McLaren and Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe (TGR-E), as the former was using TGR-E’s wind tunnel facility in Cologne.
It was back in 2010 when McLaren started using Toyota’s former F1 wind tunnel, this backdrop has contributed to the design of every McLaren race car since then. The shift in wind tunnel usage is a significant change for McLaren‘s vehicle development, however, Toyota doesn’t perceive this as a complete termination of their alliance.
TGR-E’s managing director Rob Leupen stated, “Our door remains open to McLaren.” Leupen acknowledged that McLaren‘s new wind tunnel alters the kind of services they need from TGR-E, and might also affect the frequency of the visits of their engineers to Cologne. Yet, Leupan insisted on an open dialogue and underscored TGR-E’s role in facilitating the integration of McLaren‘s new wind tunnel.
Leupen highlighted the value that TGR-E can contribute to high-profile engineering projects. “We look forward to supporting innovative companies like McLaren in the future”, he added.
2010 was the same year when the Toyota F1 team retreated from Grand Prix racing, and since then, McLaren started using the Cologne wind tunnel. The wind tunnel’s debut role was in the development of the race-winning McLaren MP4-26 in 2011, and continued to serve the team until this year’s MCL60.
Over the years, the relationship between McLaren and TGR-E went beyond just the wind tunnel, with R&D and production capabilities usage also being a part of the agreement. Additionally, McLaren had exclusive working zones at the Toyota factory, and established a separate data system and communication link back to the Woking factory. Both entities collaborated on keeping the wind tunnel updated with the latest technology.
Andrea Stella, McLaren‘s team principal, praised Toyota’s contribution to their team. Stella described TGR-E’s support as invaluable, and appreciated the facilities and the collaborative relationship that proved crucial to developing their race cars. Stella also recognized the new wind tunnel’s efficiencies and alignment with McLaren‘s upcoming structure.
Leupen responded to Stella’s praises, reflecting that Toyota was honored to play a part in McLaren‘s F1 journey for 12 years. He cited the collaboration as indicative of the mutual respect between the two organizations, and thanked McLaren for their commitment and trust in TGR-E.