On track, in orbit, and all at sea.

Jason Ford

News Editor

Tomorrow at the McLaren Technical Centre in Woking, McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh will reveal details of the firm’s new racing supercar, the MP4-12C GT3.

The car is based on McLaren’s new MP4-12C supercar, which goes on sale in the UK and Europe in early summer.

No stranger to the pages of The Engineer, the high performance two-seat, carbon chassis-based car will cost £168,500. The car has been designed, engineered, developed and manufactured at McLaren’s factory in Woking. Click here to read an interview with Neil Patterson, McLaren Automotive chief engineer.

From British automotive excellence to space, an area in which the UK is quietly going about its business and generating relatively large returns for UK plc.

This Thursday sees Patrick Wood give a talk at the IMechE in London entitled ‘Delivering UK Space Capability into Orbit’.

In a superb piece of understatement the event’s blurb says ‘space is a very unforgiving setting’, noting too that the launch and service of space payloads requires ‘extraordinary mechanical engineering’.

Wood will consider the parameters in which the engineering manager must work – designing and testing, day-to-day operational issues and the ever present cost considerations – and lay them out for those who moving from a purely technical focus into management.



A relevant but unrelated event takes place on Friday when the International Space Innovation Centre is officially opened. Located in Oxfordshire at Harwell the centre aims to bring together industry, academia and government to create a ‘critical mass of space-related activities’.

Back down to earth, HMS Ark Royal will today host tours for those bidding to purchase the aircraft carrier that was retired as part of 2010’s Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Before being allowed on board, bidders have had to register their interest with the MoD, outlining their ’intentions regarding the vessel’.

Defence chiefs are said to be backing a plan to use the vessel as a floating helipad in the Thames manned by former service personnel in time for the London 2012 Olympics.

Also on sale are three Type-42 destroyers – HMS Exeter, HMS Southampton and HMS Nottingham – and bidders will have until 10:00 on 13 Jun to put their tenders forward for Ark Royal.

For more on the UK’s next generation aircraft carrier, take a look at our latest entry by guest bloggerr David Downs, ACA Engineering Director

Finally, The Energy Show 2011 takes place this week at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham.

The event’s organisers say the show ‘marks an exciting opportunity for those in energy-intensive industries to get involved in the UK’s only major show dedicated purely to energy purchasing, metering and on-site generation.’

Running alongside the free event is a series of energy lectures will look at UK power market reforms; European emissions prices; Climate Change Agreements and the CRC.