- Published: Saturday, 01 April 2017 09:03
McLaren's 570GT new Feather Wrap option might not take off here as the LTA questions its safety
McLaren Automotive has just made a Feather Wrap option available on the 570GT model. It's priced at a reasonable $21,417 before taxes, and you can order it through MSO, the company’s bespoke division.
The Feather Wrap involves gluing nearly 10,000 carbon-veined artificial feathers are applied to the car’s body. The process is done by hand and takes 300 hours.
The 570GT was chosen as the initial recipient for the new body finish as it’s the McLaren most suited to long flight-like journeys across continents, according to a local spokesperson, April Foo.
Adding feathers is just another example of how the carmaker tends to take inspiration from nature. Its first car in the current product era, the MP4-12C, used the skin texture of a sailfish to speed up airflow in the engine’s air intake. Insiders says that former CEO Ron Dennis kept a receptacle shaped like a pig, into which he would insert coins that he picked up on the factory grounds.
“Our engineers and designers have long been inspired by nature in our aim to create the lightest and most aerodynamic shapes on the road. We call this biomimicry. And it was on a beautiful day walking around our Woking campus that one of us looked up at the birds circling our lake, then picked up a feather from the ground and placed it on a car…” says Robin Crane, a biomimicry specialist. “That turned into a conversation with the craftsmen and women at MSO that led to the creation of the Feather Wrap.”
Synthetic feathers used, and each is seven centimetres long and coated with a pearlescent lacquer.
They are applied to the car parallel to the forward direction cushioning the effects of air flowing over the body of the car. The feathers act as grooves contributing to a reduction in surface drag, says McLaren. As the speed of the car goes up the feathers start to vibrate, further reducing drag by delaying the transition from a laminar to turbulent boundary of air.
Father Wrap adds only 2.5kg to the weight of the car - no more than metallic paint.
The idea might not get off the ground in Singapore, however. It’s unclear whether the Land Transport Authority will allow the new finish to go on sale here. “Our engineering department is concerned about any modification that could affect the steering and brakes,” a spokesperson says. “This is for the safety of all road users.”
When alerted to the fact that Feather Wrap involves only the bodywork, the spokesperson told us to “go away”.