The world of 3D printing has taken a leap into the world of fast cars and sport with the news that the McLaren-Honda Formula One racing team is to use 3D printing in its 2017 car. The team has announced that they are embarking on a partnership with 3D printing company Stratasys to ramp up the speed of producing parts.
The partnership will see a Stratasys 3D printer on the trackside at the Bahrain Grand Prix, allowing McLaren-Honda to quickly and easily tweak the designs of any prototypes. This ability to print parts that will be race ready will allow them to integrate any design modifications that may normally take weeks to produce incredibly quickly, helping to reduce the weight of their race car.
Weight is incredibly important in Formula One as the lighter a car is, the quicker it will be able to go in a race. It is obvious that McLaren-Honda hopes that this ability to implement new designs faster than ever will help their chances of being competitive and potentially winning races.
About Formula One Cars
A Formula One car is often a feat of engineering with the cars able to reach blistering speeds of over 321km/h (200mph), with the record currently set at 372.6km/h (231mph) during the 2005 Italian Grand Prix.
The cars are created to be as aerodynamic as possible to create a significant amount of downforce to allow cars to corner quickly while also reducing the amount of drag that they suffer that could potentially slow a car down.
The Stratasys press release said that Eric Boullier of McLaren Racing had recently stated, “It has become clear that motorsport’s reliance on rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing, and the ability to radically cut time to market, is increasing.”
This move forward into the world of 3D printing for McLaren-Honda is likely to be viewed closely by other Formula One teams. Could it possible that we see 3D printers on the trackside more often in the future as the benefits of 3D printing is realised in the high speed environment of Formula One?