McLaren can now 3D print parts at trackside and F1 will never be the same

The McLaren F1 team has revealed it will be 3D printing “race-ready” parts at next weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

In a first for the world’s most illustrious motorsport, McLaren Racing says it’ll have an operational 3D printer at trackside ready to respond to whatever the team needs during the race weekend

Thanks to the presence of the Stratasys uPrint SE Plus printer, the team will have the ability last-minute changes to the McLaren MCL32 car, in order to adapt to track conditions.

The 3D printed parts are also lighter than their traditionally-manufactured counterparts, meaning a performance boost too.

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One of the parts already integrated into the 2017 race car is the carbon-fiber reinforced nylon hydraulic line brackets, which can be printed in four hours, compared with the traditional two-week manufacturing process.

3D printed Flexible radio harness location boots, carbon-fiber composite brake cooling ducts (below) and the rear wing flaps have also made it in.

F1

Neil Oatley, Design and Development Director, McLaren Racing, said: “We are consistently modifying and improving our Formula 1 car designs, so the ability to test new designs quickly is critical to making the car lighter and more importantly increasing the number of tangible iterations in improved car performance.

“If we can bring new developments to the car one race earlier – going from new idea to new part in only a few days – this will be a key factor in making the McLaren MCL32 more competitive.”

The F1 season got underway in Australia two weeks ago. Race 2 is in China on Sunday. Last month, Sky announced it would be showing every Grand Prix of 2017 in glorious 4K.

Did you witness the Australian Grand Prix in 4K? How was the experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.