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Mclaren News and Opinion

Ok, had a lot of people ask for our take on the McLaren Auto job cuts so thought we would share.

First off we know a lot of good people at McLaren, F1 and auto side and no doubt some of these will find themselves jobless in what is likely to be a very tough job market, we feel for them and wish them the best of luck.

However that being said the decision to cut costs and as a result cut production could well be the golden bullet McLaren have needed for some time.

Its no secret that the main McLaren shareholders have been angling for a return on their investment in some way, either by an ipo or sale to a third party (equity or corporate) and is has been this strategy that has in effect forced McLaren to try and be what it is not – a mass production operation. Over the past 2 years McLaren’s strategy has been expansion of build numbers at the cost of everything else most notably quality control. This isn’t altogether surprising, if you make a bold statement of new models and build targets (which was quite clearly window dressing for a sale) but without the capital to back it then it can only end one way, a degradation of quality with the resulting loss of brand. Prior to coronavirus Mclaren was in delicate (but not disastrous) shape.

Add in the worst automotive ipo in history (Aston Martin) and things looked bleak, shareholders wanted out but not at any cost, they wanted value not a fire sale but with a public statement of model and number expansion McLaren was in a corner. Then we got coronavirus.

As a result of the largest economic event seen since WW2 McLaren and its shareholders have decided (we hope) to hit the reset button. If this round of cost cutting is a genuine indication of this then despite the pain of hurting employees it could be the out the company needed.

Ditch Track 25, that was madness to overtly announce so many models and build numbers, McLaren is in the supercar market, to adopt a GM strategy of market share was lunacy, we see why they did it (sale) but that ship has sailed, drop Track 25 completely as a statement. No more marketing lead build numbers, build what you can and what can be sold and spend what you have on QC so dealers dont get lumbered with rebuilds. The dealers will thank you for that we are sure.

With cars coming out not needing remedial work the dealers will be able to do a better job on after care, at the moment they are firefighting and I know some are bored of it, have the cars come out without needing rebuilds, the owners will love you for that, yes there will be niggles and issues, all cars do but McLaren owners are actually pretty tolerant, they love their cars and can cope with quite a lot, they just feel that they shouldn’t need to.

At this point I’d go on about being open to independents but I’ve done that for years, its serves no purpose banging on about it but please look at some of the parts costs and breakdowns. Turbo wastegates are prone to wearing out, £60 from a Mitsubishi dealer, £1100 new turbo from a McLaren dealer, that’s just wrong. Driveshaft boots – it’s a rubber boot, it cant last forever but it’s not available as a separate item you have to replace the whole driveshaft at £800, you can see how owners get frustrated. As an independent we work round these issues but dealers arent geared for it and the result is the owners having to spend more on wear and tear maintenance with the resultant guffaws from other supercar owners.

Oh and the big nuclear bomb at 15 years of age? Mclaren state every airbag must be replaced, that’s £14k! It maybe a few years away but this is the sort of data that long term owners, the sort of owners you want to help support the brand, are looking at.

Our hope is they take this chance to shrink back a bit from the arrogant market claims, the cars themselves are utterly unchallenged in each sector, the 720 flattens everything, it really does. The 570 runs rings round its peers but due to depreciation it now competing with 5 year old R8s! No offence to the R8 its lovely but the 570 jumps all over it in terms of power and handling. And a 12c at £60k? That’s bog stock 911 money, I dont even I know where to begin on that comparison.

I’ve no doubt the 765LT will take the whole game further, our own 720s is running 800bhp with just a remap and better exhaust so the 765 is bound to shock the world, but only if it doesnt come with a ‘but’. The first 720s were blighted with windscreens breaking, roofs not fitting, bodywork that was awful, error codes, limp home modes and these not only got built but then passed QC. ALL of these issues are and can be fixed. Our own 720s spider has been problem free (oil pump leak and shock leak in delivery, that’s it). Since then zero issues.

Rather than chase those numbers chase the output quality, the 765 with all its abilities that arrives to a customer without any issues, or error codes and bodywork that fits wont depreciate and leave a bad taste, it might even go up in value! When the owner posts on social media how good his car is there wont be a disaffected Ferrari owner harp on about ‘but’ – there is no ‘but’

The best thing I did as a business was shrink, I spent too many years chasing biggest and we suffered in terms of reputation and quality, when the opportunity arose to sell part of what I had built I cherry picked what I wanted sold the rest and decided that biggest was absurd, best was not only better but more achievable, that was 10 years ago.

I appreciate that they are in no way comparable I’m never going to sell and even if I did it wouldn’t be worth anything so who cares, you can’t have that attitude in big business but a little bit of it can do wonders for the wider picture.

And that’s the last point, any business that is sold is ‘valued’ and for the most part this is quite formulated except for one thing – brand and goodwill, this is still a guess and as such it has the largest affect on the ultimate value. Look at Apple, a massive proportion of its “value” is its brand not the actual product inventory, or stock, or buildings. If Apple built 1b phones a year it would generate a huge value, but if 500m of those 1b needed to go back to the shop 2/3 times before they worked?

It’s a crap time at the moment, firing staff is horrible and I feel for every one of them, but use this difficult time to concentrate on the bits you are weak and the QC will enhance the brand more than any desires to make x number if cars per year.

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Mclaren Track Support Greystone GT track day

Our 2020 track support program got going with our first visit to Brands Hatch GP circuit with Greystone GT.

We’ve been supporting Mark and his great team at Greystone for three years now offering free track support to all owners but especially Mclaren owners with free pre and post track inspections as well as on going advice and technical support.

We are also using these events as a chance to show off our new GT4R track car we have developed which is available an an upgrade kit for any Mclaren sports Series model comprising upgrades to power, brakes, suspension, GT4 wing, GT4 splitter, cage, race exhaust, carbon seats and harness’s.

The new social distancing rules meant we cant do passenger rides but its good to let me people see and of course we get to show it off on track.

This time we didnt get much chance, first track day of the year and a very dusty track meant we had a few cars to sort out after trips to the kitty litter, no real damage thankfully, these cars are meant to be driven on track and it takes more than a bit of gravel to cause any real issues, both drivers were back on track after we cleared all the gravel out for them.

 

All in all it was a great day, we attended to all the Mclaren owners needs, sorted a few minor issues and for the first time didnt need to top up any oil – owners are all looking after their cars! The few runs we got of the GT4 were enough for us to confirm the race exhaust is fully noise compliant for Brands Hatch and it passed Donington last year so we are pleased wit that. We need new tyres though, so going to trying something different ahead of the next day at Donington Park. Looking forward to it already.

 

 

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Mclaren 570 GT4R Detail

Since the launch of the Mclaren 570 GT4R its been on track a lot for testing so needed a little tlc before we did some more photos of it, we also needed to install paint protection film (will be another feature on that coming soon) so we wanted to get that done then a proper detail and paint protection glaze.

Now we know a little bit about detailing but what we do know is that it takes a great deal of skill and knowledge to do a great job and its not something we do a lot of so we have our own detailing partner here in GS Valeting Services. Greg from GS provides every detailing option for us, simple monthly washes to deep clean and polishing work so we asked what he recommended for both paint recovery and also protection and his suggestion was a proper clean and preparation followed by a ceramic coating.

First off the car needed a decent clean.

 

It needed a decent clean

Stage 1

Stage one,deionise and clean wheels with dragons breath.

Stage 2

Power wash all loose dirt from vehicle and pre-wash with snow foam.turtle wax snow foam.

Stage 3

Wash car with ceramic wash and wax and rinse car off, pat dry the car.turtle wax ceramic wash and wax.

Stage 4

Blow dry car to remove all water from the car,then clay bar the car to remove all airborne contaminants, Farecla G3 clay glove and detailing spray

Stage 5

Polish car, poor boys blue car polish

Stage 6

Apply ceramic coating two coats to all car surfaces, Mr fix 9H ceramic coating

Stage 7

Give a final coat with ceramic detailing spray and dress tyres, turtle wax ceramic detailing spray

As you can see the results are just stunning

We are delighted with the overall results so the 720 is next.

Thanks to Greg at GS Valeting, he’s local to us near Silverstone and offer a full range of detailing services so do give him a call.

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Mclaren Geometry Settings

We often get asked about our geometry set up from owners who are perhaps a little far away to take advantage of our service. To help those here are all the standard vehicle geometry settings for every Mclaren model. As new cars are released we will update the page.

Of course just knowing the settings is a little meaningless if you dont have the equipment or skill to work on the cars, but its a start for some and whilst the job is time consuming (allow 3 hours+) its not overly technical. We’ve done a video showing what we do that might be usefull;

 

 

Mclaren 675LT

 

Mclaren 570, 540, GT

 

Mclaren 650s

 

Mclaren 720s, 720 Spider

 

Mclaren 12c, 12c Spider

 

Mclaren P1

 

We strongly advise that you chose a wheel alignment shop that has the required skills to do the job!

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Mclaren Bodywork ‘corrosion’

Mclaren and ‘corrosion’ seem to go hand in hand sadly as its quite likely that nearly every model will need rectification work at some time which is disappointing, however its all covered under warranty so its inconvenience rather than cost but we thought we would explain what is the cause and what to look for on your own car.

First off here is a video we’ve done that explains it all;

There are actually two causes for paint problems on Mclarens and the cause depends on the panel material.

Super Series Cars (12c, 650, 675, 720)

The majority of panels on super series cars are composite, on these panels the issue is moisture inside the laminate structure which expands and bubbles up the paint, it can be repaired (digging out the issue, filling and painting) but Mclaren simply replace the panel and repaint.

Common areas are front wings, front inspection panel, rear wings and engine covers, the bubbling is nearly always at the edge of the panel.

Sports Series and 720

The sports series cars (540, 570, 600, GT) have more aluminum panels and here the issue is that the surface was not properly treated before painting so over time the bubble pops up, again its not the paint as such but the material underneath. Again, these can be repaired (strip down and paint) but Mclaren again simply replace the panel and repaint.

Common areas are doors, front and rear wings and engine cover, and again the issue is localised to the edge of the panel.

The good news is that all of this is covered under warranty, so at least its not a cost.

 

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Mclaren power steering pump failure

We first came across some issues with the power steering pump 2 years ago, an owner commented on issues he was having with multiple canbus failure due to water ingress into the front compartment but as we never saw the car nor inspected the issue we put in in the ‘keep an eye our for it’ section for Mclaren and moved on, but this week we had two 12c Coupes both recovered/limped in with multiple ECU faults and on both cars a complete electrical break down.

First car was reported as complete electrical failure, multiple ECU faults, power steering, ABS, traction, suspension you name it, every light was on and the car was stuck – pretty much screams canbus failure and the fact it happened in the pouring rain meant we assumed water ingress of some kind. Initial inspection confirmed this, water in the footwell and carpet area so we started the process of chasing down the fault ECU by ECU. Having the full Mclaren wiring diagrams and diagnostic kit was essential and we eventually tracked it down to three ECU’s all in the front of the car, the main dash ECU, power steering ECU and suspension ECU.

After taking apart the whole front end section we found the issue – the power steering pump was heavily corroded and the lower case seal had failed allowing water into the pump unit itself causing it to ground out and as its part of the main canbus system caused a multiple cascade affect of ECU failures (think of it as a weak link in a chain, if the link goes the whole chain does).

Location of power steering pump

 

In UK spec cars the power steering pump is ‘protected’ by a plastic cover, which is designed to keep the noise in the cabin down from the pump.

Jacket opened out
power steering pump sat in its jacket

The problem is that this plastic cover (despite costing £85!) is a bit crap and it has split allowing water into the foam which acts like a sponge resulting in the power steering pump sitting in a pool of water, this has corroded the casing causing water ingress and ultimately the pump to fail.

Split in jacket, foam soaked with water

We can dry out the pump easily enough but if enough water has penetrated the mechanism it means the pump motor will fail so needs replacing at a cost of £1300 plus VAT. A lot of this water ingress comes from the washer pipes which split quite regularly resulting in washer fluid leaking directly onto the power steering pump cover which leads to the question of whether this is something that should be covered under warranty?

Significant outer casing corrosion from being sat in pool of water
Water inside the power steering pump circuit board

The answer is probably no, the water ingress is caused by a split pipe (wear and tear) but after that its a split in the cover that makes it worse (trim) and then corrosion on the pump itself, all of which one could argue is a design fault with the car though. For us, we will cover it as a goodwill issue for cars with our warranty but we dont imagine anyone else will for the above reasons. To help prevent the issue happening to your car – check your washer pipes regularly – they do split, often, but we are adding this to our list of checks to cars for warranty and purchase inspections. If you want to know you have an issue just try your windscreen washers, if its not on the screen from both arms then its going somewhere and is most likely going over your power steering pump.

Whilst its disappointing that a supercar has such an issue at least it is fixable.

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Callum Noble, Class B MSV Supercup Champion

Well, first full season in his E46 M3 and first class championship, cant say better than that.

Last round was at Brands Hatch, a track Callum knows well, he had a 5 point lead going into the last race but taking into account dropped rounds was a net 8 points behind in second place so he had to beat the Apple Cars Clio on the track to win.

Qualifying went pretty well, class pole and 9th overall ahead of the Clio so we were hopeful of a good race but Brands Indy can be a cruel place especially with lots of cars in lots of classes all vying for position and the track was very greasy so a simple off could drop us back badly and quickly. What made it more stressful was the eclectic scoring where as well as points for class position Callum also scored points for each higher class car he finished ahead as well so 30+ points was possible.

Well after all the build up the race itself (in terms of championship) was less stressful, the Apple Cars clio slid hit another car on lap two and coming in to check for damage meant they dropped two laps, pretty hard to come back from that so Callum got a (relatively) easy run to the line. However with the 8 point difference (and 7 points difference between 1st and 2nd) he really had to push for every overtake to ensure he got enough points to win.

Well first on the road lead to some nervous waiting whilst they added it all up and it was confirmed – Callum was Class B champion MSV Supercup. Well done Callum, very much deserved.

These end of season reports are all about thanking everyone involved and this is no exception, Callum and his family of supporters make the race weekends fun but Tom, his No1 mechanic and Keith (truckie) have been standfast and 100% in their support in making sure the car ran 100% all year allowing Callum to concentrate on driving. Thanks to the sponsors and partners; Badger Oak Stud, Silverstone Shooting Centre (well thats us, but we got some great publicity), Aimpoint, Wildcat Moderators and most of all to Callum, for reminding us that not all quick race car drivers are twats.

Roll on 2020, with a full power E46 M3 and Class S with the MSV Supercup.

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MSV Track day Championship Round 5 – Zandevorte

Well we like it wet (well Callum does) and after Donington Park we thought we’d be too lucky to get another race but blow me thats exactly what we got, only this time it was too wet.

With zero practice available and Callum having never sat foot in the place let alone race it we werent really sure how the race would go, but with pretty much everyone in the same boat we were hopeful. As it happens boat is about right, it chucked it down and pretty soon the paddock was swamped and there was talk of delayed starts.

At the lights out Callum got another great start getting to the front (almost a carbon copy of Donington Park) and as the race progressed we were convinced it was another win but sadly fate dealt us a hand we didnt expect, Callums windscreen was misting up and he couldnt see! Strange how in all the years of racing we’ve never really had the problem but this time the screen mists up and at the end of the Race Callum really was driving blind.

All in all a frustrating race as on the last lap Callum was overtaken by the main rival in his class to close his gap on his lead for the championship, oh well, thats racing. Despite that it was a great weekend for the team, we loved the track even even if we didnt love the long ferry ride back.

Last race will decide the Championship!

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MSV Track Day Championship Round 4 – Donington Park

Well a wet wet wet Donington Park was the scene for round 4 of the Championship and Callum likes it wet so we were hopeful of a good round. Last race we had some issues with he differential so that had been swapped and testing on Friday confirmed all was good so we were keen for a good race.

Callum didnt disappoint, a great start from 5th on the grid to first was the golden start and he went on to settle down to a great drive ahead of a lot of the higher class cars and we were looking at a class and overall win by the half way point. However a fantastically badly timed safety car, literally as Callum went past the pit entrance meant all the other teams could take their mandatory pitstop whilst the saftey car was out on track which meant we lost over 45 seconds.

Despite this Callum came into win his class and 5th overall so a great result and keeps him 10 points ahead in the championship with 2 races to go. Its getting tense now!