Ready to embark on an exclusive trip into McLaren’s secret realm? Now it’s possible!

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“Never experienced anything like this before,” McLaren’s representative Kris, who is F1’s guide for the afternoon tour at the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC), exclaims. As he prepares to present the iconic MP4/13 from 1998, the Finnish legend Mika Hakkinen strolls within earshot. This raises the stakes, given Hakkinen, who is just five yards away, achieved eight grand prix victories with this very car, thereby securing both drivers’ and constructors’ Formula 1 championship titles.

Undeterred, Kris smoothly continues, just as Hakkinen steps into one of several cylindrical glass lifts – a design brainchild of ex-McLaren boss Ron Dennis and renowned architect Norman Foster, modelled after the ascending and descending pistons of an engine. As the lift ascends, Kris points out the absence of wires, a requirement of Dennis to maintain a clutter-free environment.

This brief encounter encapsulates the essence of our three-hour visit to the MTC. Inaugurated in May 2004, the facility is an epitome of cutting-edge architecture, often likened to a James Bond villain’s hideout. Yet, it retains a vibrant soul, reflecting the rich motorsport history manifested in every vehicle chassis and trophy exhibited along the well-known boulevard.

Amazingly, this unique experience is now accessible to the general public. Despite the stringent confidentiality around F1 design and the evolution of McLaren Automotive’s latest vehicles, the MTC is welcoming fans through its doors, thanks to GetYourGuide, a top-notch online travel booking platform, offering this experience as part of its ‘Originals by GetYourGuide’ collection.

With 14 years in the industry, GetYourGuide has offered over 75,000 distinctive experiences to more than 80 million users from 150 countries. It grants exclusive access, facilitating a private tour of the Sistine Chapel, for instance, or an after-hours visit to Barcelona’s magnificent La Sagrada Familia, complete with a private organ performance – all possible to book via its app on the App Store and Google Play.

Photo by: GetYourGuide

Following a significant increase in demand after the COVID-19 pandemic, GetYourGuide has expanded its Original experiences to include sports venues. Now, in addition to exploring Madison Square Garden with a Hall of Famer, tours of the MTC, labelled as GetYourGuide’s “crown jewel”, are accessible to everyone.

Upon arrival at the immaculately groomed Woking’s Paragon roundabout, named after the original working title for the MTC, you encounter an initially hidden building that gradually reveals itself. The sight of the grand edifice becomes even more tantalising as you circle the lake.

For 2023, the glass walls are adorned with bright decals celebrating McLaren’s diamond anniversary. Bruce McLaren’s personal 1929 Austin Seven race car welcomes you at the entrance. At the other end of the timeline, the reception desk is graced by Lando Norris’ present ride: the MCL60, bearing its ‘Triple Crown’ special livery. The journey continues with a tour of the 1970 Can-Am champion M8D monster, followed by the Gulf-painted McLaren F1 GTR Longtail.

Under former CEO Ron Dennis, McLaren began preserving its heritage cars and reacquiring some of its most successful ones. Current CEO Zak Brown has maintained this practice, leading to a rich collection of cars at the MTC. Impressively, these aren’t just static museum pieces but are meticulously maintained for driving, making appearances at the Goodwood Festival of Speed Hillclimb or Monterey Car Week at Laguna Seca.

Photo by: GetYourGuide

The journey continues past the symbols of modern-day McLaren, leading to the Thought Leadership Centre. This is where the 2023 F1 car was launched, and now, as the MTC opens its doors with GetYourGuide, this venue can be rented, complete with its own café.

Next, guests are led into the McLaren Production Centre, where the latest Automotive creations are assembled, with the Artura supercar in the making. The only other location where photography is restricted is the race bays, where two MCL60s are being prepped for Norris and team-mate Oscar Piastri for the upcoming Canadian and Austrian GPs. Despite the no-photography rule, there’s no stopping you from appreciating the intricacy of the suspension and brake assemblies.

Walking down the boulevard never gets old, Piastri, fresh from the Spanish GP, tells Autosport. He had toured the MTC as a 17-year-old starting in Formula Renault Eurocup and finds the rotating displays exciting.

Photo by: GetYourGuide

While McLaren’s greatest hits are on display in the main boulevard, the less successful and unpainted test cars find a place in the side corridors. However, the numerous trophies representing every grand prix podium, victory, and championship title are proudly displayed, including Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 drivers’ championship trophy – McLaren’s latest title triumph.

The tour concludes with a sneak peek at the upcoming F1 wind tunnel, cooled by four massive towers each holding 24,500 litres of water – a project envisioned to propel McLaren back to the front of the grid.

“This place is timeless,” Hakkinen shares with Autosport, highlighting the inspiring and high-quality work environment at MTC. And now, thanks to GetYourGuide, this immersive MTC tour is not just for two-time F1 world champions anymore.

Photo by: GetYourGuide

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about McLaren Technology Centre Tour

What is the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC)?

The McLaren Technology Centre is a state-of-the-art facility in Woking, UK, that serves as the headquarters for McLaren Group. The Centre houses operations for McLaren Racing, McLaren Automotive, and McLaren Applied.

Who is the guide for the tour at the MTC?

The tour guide for an afternoon at the MTC as mentioned in the text is Kris, who is a McLaren ambassador and a representative of F1

Who designed the glass lifts at the MTC?

The cylindrical glass lifts at the MTC were designed by ex-McLaren boss Ron Dennis and renowned architect Norman Foster.

Who offers the MTC tour to the public?

The MTC tour is offered to the public by GetYourGuide, a leading online travel booking platform, as part of its ‘Originals by GetYourGuide’ collection.

Can the cars at the MTC still be driven?

Yes, the cars at the MTC are meticulously maintained so they can still be driven. They often appear at events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed Hillclimb or Monterey Car Week at Laguna Seca.

Which McLaren car greets visitors on arrival at the MTC?

Visitors are greeted by the eponymous founder Bruce McLaren’s own 1929 Austin Seven race car upon arrival at the MTC.

More about McLaren Technology Centre Tour

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JamesRacingFan June 14, 2023 - 10:09 pm

Wow, just wow! can’t believe I can actually go and see the MTC, always been a dream of mine! thanks for sharing, mclaren here i come!!

FastAndFuriousFan June 15, 2023 - 12:51 am

hol up, did they just say that the room from Hobbs & Shaw is in the MTC? That’s crazy man! gotta check this out!!

F1Historian June 15, 2023 - 1:04 am

Impressive, truly impressive. The collection of historic race cars and the trophies they won, just amazing! kudos to mclaren for opening their doors.

PetrolHeadMike June 15, 2023 - 5:11 pm

the dedication to detail, even the trolley jacks painted in mclaren papaya. Hats off to the team. this is gonna be a treat for any car lover, booking my tour ASAP.

McLarenLover101 June 15, 2023 - 6:03 pm

This is epic! the mclaren tech centre was like a fortress, no one gets in. Can’t wait to book my tour!


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