A taste of Le Mans and Goodwood arrived in Leeds last night with the opening of a showroom dedicated to McLaren high-performance cars.
It has been 18 months in the making in Aire Valley Road, Temple Green, close to the M1 in the shadow of Temple Newsam.
This is McLaren’s first dealership in Yorkshire and it is one of just 10 across the country.
But the Leeds showroom is the company’s biggest freestanding site in Europe.
The showroom is home to 15 staff and 14 cars, each costing from £137,000 for the entry-level 540C up to more than £750,000 for the McLaren Senna limited edition tribute to Ayrton Senna. The McLaren Senna in the Leeds showroom actually retails at more than £800,000 because it has some bespoke features.
Yesterday, McLaren’s design director Rob Melville – Leeds born and bred – visited and took time out to call in at his former school, Benton Park in Rawdon.
McLaren Leeds’ general manager Mark Ballance said: “We arranged it because it is important to show children what they can achieve.”
He said the company was still recruiting but was very happy with its new location.
“We can serve Humberside, north of Sheffield and even across to Lancashire thanks to being near the M1, M62 and A1,” he said. “We have gained a lot of new fans. People can see our new premises from the main road into Leeds because it is high profile.”
McLaren makes a range of cars categorised as Sports, Super Series and Ultimate costing from £137,000 to more than £750,000.
The firm specialises in high-performance and has a Composite Technology Centre in Sheffield which makes lightweight carbon fibre components.
It now builds around 5,000 cars a year and plans to raise that to 6,000 a year by 2024.
A press driving day was hosted by McLaren yesterday, with some 300 guests invited to an event in the evening to mark the official opening of the new premises.