Ron Dennis appointed Group CEO of McLaren Group

The McLaren Group have announced that Ron Dennis CBE has been re-appointed Group Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Group with immediate effect.

Dennis, who previously held the role from 1982 until 2012, is already Chairman of the group, and has been a shareholder of McLaren since 1980. He was the longest serving Team Principal of the McLaren F1 Team, relinquishing control to Martin Whitmarsh in 2009. Whitmarsh had taken on the role of CEO in 2013, but has now lost that position to Dennis.

“My fellow shareholders have mandated me to write an exciting new chapter in the story of McLaren, beginning by improving our on-track and off-track performance,” he said following his appointment. “Over the coming weeks I intend to undertake a thorough and objective review of each of our businesses with the intention of optimising every aspect of our existing operations, whilst identifying new areas of growth that capitalise on our technologies, and where appropriate further investing in them.”

 “During February, I will articulate a new Group strategy and implement the organisational structure best suited to achieving it.” he continued. “I am excited by the prospect of returning to the role of Group Chief Executive Officer and working with my many colleagues and fellow shareholders to fulfil our objective – which is to win at whatever we do.”

The McLaren Group encompasses the F1 team, Automotive, Applied Technologies, GT3 Racing and Absolute Taste.

 

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McLaren ’50 in 50′: The Journey

Bruce McLaren once said:

The luck thing – really there’s no such thing as good luck. It’s good preparation and hard work.

It is certainly not luck that led McLaren to be the company they are today, growing from the humble beginnings of Bruce McLaren Racing Ltd. 50 years on McLaren as a racing team have won a number of championships (not just in Formula One), McLaren as a manufacturer have designed and created some of the most iconic road cars ever, and McLaren as a group have developed technologies which have become an integral part to many sectors.

Reflecting on McLaren’s 50th anniversary, Ron Dennis, summarised the following:

McLaren started as the dream of one man, and it’s since grown to encompass the hopes and dreams of more than 2000 men and women, who work as tirelessly as Bruce McLaren himself once did to ensure that everything we do reflects well when compared with everything we’ve ever achieved.

It has been quite a journey in the last 50 years, just like these past 50 days have been a journey for me. While collating all the information for the 50 posts I learned a lot and rediscovered forgotten memories. In the past 50 days we’ve looked at the men who have led McLaren – Bruce McLaren, Teddy Mayer, Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh. We’ve looked at McLaren F1’s 19 race winners, from Bruce himself to John Watson, and from Gerhard Berger to Jenson Button. Seven men have won the world championship for McLaren including Emerson Fittipaldi, Ayrton Senna, and Lewis Hamilton, while the team have had great success at certain races such as in Belgium, Monaco and in Great Britain.

Of course, with only 50 days to play with, it means A LOT of McLaren’s history has not been covered. Key team personnel, or other countries in which they have been victorious, and drivers who have not won races. That is not to say they are not an important part of the McLaren journey, there just wasn’t time in this particular instance.

2013

2013 has been a difficult for McLaren in Formula One. Taking the wrong direction at the start of the year has resulted in them scrapping for fifth place in the championship and not finishing higher than fifth during the year. It has been a baptism of fire for new recruit Sergio Perez. Without a podium or win in sight, it looks set to be their worst season as a team for a while. Of course, it has not always been plain sailing for the Woking-based squad, but somehow they always seem to salvage something in the past couple of decades. A brief overview of their past 23 years (1990 – 2013 inclusive, unless stated otherwise) in Formula One shows this:

Total wins: 102
Total podiums*: 192
Points finishes (from 811 starts): 507
Retirements**: 213
Average championship position***: 2.4
Winless seasons***: 4
Podiumless seasons***: 0

* additional to wins
** not including races where retirement came in last 10%
*** excluding 2013 which is still in progress

It is difficult to quantify a year as the ‘most disappointing’ for McLaren. Is it a year full of retirements? Is it a year with no wins or podiums? Is it 2007 when they were excluded from the championship? McLaren have endured winless seasons before and bounced back, and there are still four races from which they can achieve a podium. It’s all part of the journey.

What next?

McLaren have plenty coming up in the future, as the group continues to grow. For example…

  • In Formula One they are reuniting with Honda, as the Japanese company will be supplying their engines once again, starting in 2015.
  • McLaren Electronic Systems are providing the electric motor, transmission and electronics for the brand new Formula E series, due to launch in 2014.
  • McLaren Applied Technologies has establised a HQ in Singapore.
  • McLaren Automotive has established itself in China with the introduction of appointed retailers in Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Guangzhou.
  • McLaren Automotive also revealed today that the first delivery of the McLaren P1, which goes from 0-100km/h in just 2.8 seconds, has taken place.

The future looks bright for McLaren and, after 50 years of success both on and off the track, here’s to another 50 years on the McLaren journey!

You can catch up with all fifty posts here!

McLaren ’50 in 50′: The McLaren Group

While it all started from Bruce McLaren’s vision and his racing team, the McLaren Group has evolved over the years. The description on its website reads:

“McLaren Group encompasses an exciting range of high-technology businesses whose rapid growth is built on the shared principles of innovation, creativity and commitment to excellence.”

The group is based within the McLaren Technology Centre, which officially opened in 2004 and Ron Dennis is its Executive Chairman. It comprises six companies which are:

  • McLaren Racing
  • McLaren Automotive
  • McLaren Applied Technologies
  • McLaren GT3 Racing
  • McLaren Electronics
  • Absolute Taste

We have already considered McLaren Racing in great depth, and will continue to do so, so here is a brief look at the other five companies.

McLaren Automotive

When Bruce McLaren started his racing team, he was also committed to producing a racing car for the road, following their success in the Can-Am series. McLaren’s first road car, the McLaren M6 GT, was produced in-house at Bruce McLaren’s factory in the mid 60s. Only one prototype was created and it featured a 5.7 litre Ford engine producing around 370bhp. The prototype went from 0 to 100mp in eight seconds and reached a speed of over 165mph.

In 1989, McLaren Cars was established. At the time, McLaren still did not have the facilites to create road cars, but a small group of engineers applied original thinking and drew on the McLaren Group’s technical abilites. Their first, and one of their most iconic developments was the McLaren F1. It is defined by many as being the definitive sports car. In 1981, McLaren had become the first Formula One team to create an all carbon chassis, and they used this philosophy in the creation of the McLaren F1. It was launched in 1994, costing £540,000.

Over the years McLaren have also produced the MP4-12C, the McLaren P1 and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

McLaren Applied Technologies

McLaren Applied Technologies was formed in 2004. It involves McLaren making use of their knowledge and ‘know-how’ to develop groundbreaking solutions across sport, medicine and entertainment. McLaren Applied Technologies focuses on four core groups and these are health & wellness, sport, energy and automotive.

McLaren Applied Technologies were recently involved in the 2012 London Olympics. They developed a wireless system that helped rowers and cyclists during the game. It measured the relationship between paddle, boat and athlete as well as storing data and telemetry information for cyclists.

McLaren GT3 Racing

Outside of Formula One, McLaren have a rich racing history in the likes of Le Mans. Back in 1995, the McLaren F1 GTR won Le Mans on its debut.At the end of 2010, McLaren confirmed plans to bring back the team name to GT sports car racing, joining forces with CRS Racing to provide customer cars. The cars they proposed to race were based on the McLaren MP4-12C road car. The car completed its first tests in March 2011 and Álvaro Parente was confirmed as the first driver to be signed to race for the team. Later Rob Bell and Alexander Sims were included in the line-up. In 2012 the team announced its full race schedule which saw 25 MP4-12C GT3 cars competing across Europe and in the FIA GT1 World Championship.

McLaren Electronics  

McLaren Electronic Systems was created in 1989 to produce high-end electronics, bespoke race telemetry and sensor equipment for teams and championships across Europe and North America. This includes Formula One, NASCAR and Indy Car. It is not just racing, however, that McLaren Electronics provides control systems, real-time data systems, and telemetry for. It also works across the automotive, aerospace and defence, railway, and machine-to-machine markets.

Since 2008, McLaren Electronics have provided a standard ECU to all teams competing in Formula One. They are the FIA’s official suppliers. They have also provided the same device for NASCAR since 2012 as well as Indycar. These systems are capable of controlling the engine, gearbox and chassis of a modern race car and provide data logging and telemetry.

Absolute Taste

Absolute Taste have been providing fresh food and VIP hospitality for the McLaren team since 1997, right from pre-season testing, through each and every race weekend on the Formula One calendar. It was formed by Ron Dennis and Lyndy Redding, who is the Managing Director.

While travelling around the world, Absolute Taste embrace local suppliers and cuisine.  They offer a bespoke catering and hospitality service to high-end customers around the world. Absolute Taste have developed a reputation of innovation and providing what they describe as ‘fabulous food’. Absolute Taste have a number of cafes and restaurants situated in places such as Mercedes-Benz World.

Tomorrow’s ’50 in 50′ post will look at McLaren’s first world champion, Emerson Fittipaldi.