There’s a stunning set of images over at mclaren.com taken by photographer Darren Heath, which explore a secret location somewhere in the south of England that McLaren use to store their old race cars.
A one-off Lamborghini-engined test car, as driven by Ayrton Senna, lies in a corner. The MP4-18 test car, which never raced, sits amidst a range of Formula 1 cars. Underneath a cover there’s an F1 GT road car, a long-tailed version of the McLaren F1, which is one of only three in existence.
Redundant wheels and tyres are stacked neatly on top of each other, while tools and spare parts are packed away in boxes just in case the legendary race cars are revived for use in festivals or historic events.
Consultant Ian Gosling helps who looks after Unit 2’s treasures said, “Since McLaren International was formed in 1981, no MP4 (post 1981) car has been sold in the open market,… Its pre-1981 M series cars are mostly in other people’s hands now though – they used to be sold off to privateers at the end of each season to help fund the team’s operations in the following year.”
At its peak there were around 75 cars stored at Unit 2, however this has dropped to around 50 since cars began being distributed across McLaren Automotive’s 35 new retailers and the Donington Grand Prix Exhibition.
When the brand new MPC (McLaren Production Centre) factory being built to produce McLaren road cars, is opened later this year, the remaining cars in Unit 2 will be spread over a wider area making them easier to maintain – but more importantly be seen by enthusiasts.
Take a look at the complete gallery of Darren’s images at mclaren.com, there’s something quite surreal seeing such monsters of speed sitting so quietly.
Images: Darren Heath
For Sale: One Careful Owner
McLaren describe Unit 2 as a ‘secret location’, although we known that the 40,004 sq ft leasehold unit at Unit 2 Access Point, North Harbour, Portsmouth has been in McLaren’s hands for nearly 10 years is now surplus to requirements – property agents Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) are in the process of finding it a new owner.
In addition to being the storage unit for McLaren’s ex-racing cars, the facility was also used for constructing the carbon-fibre body shells of the SLR McLaren Mercedes sports car, however with the new 350,000 sq ft facility being built to house MP4-12C production, a chapter in McLaren’s recent history is closing its doors