McLaren has made a bionic suit with F1 tech
McLaren might be known for building Formula 1 cars, but it’s just made a new incredible piece of technology. Instead of making a capable chassis for a rather underpowered Honda engine, McLaren has made a bionic exo-suit. And the manner in which the project came into existence sounds like a rejected superhero script.
According to Men’s Health, McLaren Applied Technologies – a spinoff of the F1 team – was approached by Client X, an anonymous billionaire who had bought several McLaren cars in the past and now had a health problem. According to McLaren’s Dan Toon, Client X had a weakened sternum and rib cage, and wanted to live a normal life. Not satisfied with the input of doctors, Client X instead asked one of his favourite supercar brands for help.
“Client X came to us wanting to feel less fragile,” says Toon. “He wanted to feel normal. What we ultimately enabled Client X to do is feel invincible.”
Not one to turn down a complex task, particularly with a billionaire’s money on the table, McLaren Applied Technologies – a spinoff of the race team – set to work. The result was Project Invincible.
After taking several scans of Client X’s body, and researching his medical history, McLaren designed a shield and base-layer system made from Zylon carbon fibre and Dyneema, a material used in bulletproof vests.
Those exotic materials mean the carbon-fibre breastplate is light enough to be hidden underneath a dress shirt, but strong enough to survive the rigours of whatever a billionaire does in their spare time – whether it’s spelunking, racing or fighting crime above the streets of Gotham.
McLaren’s vest apparently set Client X back about $250,000 – £30,000 more than a brand-new McLaren 570GT.
Why is McLaren making Iron Man armour?
Although F1 teams are understandably known for racing, the amount of technology and research needed to make modern racing cars has meant they’ve also become technology companies. Teams such as Williams and McLaren might be great at making Formula 1 racers, but they now also have the expertise to contribute to a range of sectors, from electric cars to medicine.