McLaren to trial recycled carbon fibre components at US GP

The McLaren team is set to experiment with cutting-edge recycled carbon fiber during next week’s US Grand Prix as part of its ambitious pursuit to create a fully sustainable F1 car by 2030.

McLaren’s initiative also aligns with the Woking-based outfit’s broader mission to explore groundbreaking technologies and materials that contribute to their net-zero target.

In collaboration with V Carbon, a forward-thinking composites organization, McLaren has secured recycled materials produced through state-of-the-art techniques.

The vehicle components crafted using rCF represent groundbreaking advancements and will initially find their place on the MCL60’s cockpit branding panels, prominently showcasing the V Carbon logo.

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McLaren states that the environmental benefits of recycled carbon fibre include:

-A 90% reduction in life cycle emissions compared to standard carbon fibre, the equivalent of 27 tonnes of carbon emissions for each tonne of material used.

-If just 1% of the carbon fibre manufactured globally in 2022 was rCF, it would save 32,535 tonnes of carbon emissions – equivalent to half of McLaren Racing’s total emissions in 2022.

-The manufacture of the F1 car is one of the largest contributing factors to F1 teams’ overall carbon footprint. Enhancing the use of more sustainable materials therefore has huge potential to help reduce emissions.

If the Austin trial proves successful, McLaren plans to retain the material on its cars throughout the remainder of the 2023 F1 season. The team is also keen to investigate additional applications for it in its forthcoming vehicle designs.

“We’re proud to team up with V Carbon to lead the charge in sustainable materials, running with recycled carbon fibre at the Austin GP,” commented McLaren F1 chief operating officer Piers Thynne.

“The potential future application of recycled carbon fibre is hugely exciting. V Carbon offers up to 85% of carbon fibre’s original strength, making it strong enough for a variety of applications in F1, and beyond.

“We will continue to work closely with the FIA, F1 and fellow teams to help accelerate change.”

McLaren’s Director of Sustainability Kim Wilson added: “Developing a fully circular F1 car is our moonshot. We know that innovating in this space has the potential to make a large contribution to achieving our ambitious sustainability goals.

“Using recycled carbon fibre in key parts of the F1 car at this year’s US GP and analysing their performance on the track is a vital step towards reducing the overall GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions of our car manufacture.”

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