The light fantastic
We live in the age of carbon fibre, where products ranging from airliners to tennis rackets opt for the high-strength, low-weight benefits of composite materials. The history of carbon fibre stretches back to the 1950s, when various research groups looked for a super-material that would build the space age.
The Royal Aircraft Establishment was one of those pioneers, with the Ministry of Defence in 1963 patenting a process for the creation of a high-strength carbon fibre material. One of the early beneficiaries was Rolls-Royce, who used the man-made material in its jet engines.
McLaren introduced the first carbon fibre Formula 1 monocoque in 1981 and has stayed at the forefront of composite technology ever since. In the early 1990s the McLaren F1 took carbon fibre onto the road, and its successors keep McLaren Automotive’s range of supercars at the leading edge of lightweight, high-strength materials science.