Honda and McLaren may expand their partnership outside Formula One to road cars, according to the British motorsport team’s boss.
McLaren Racing CEO Martin Whitmarsh told Autocar the two brands were open to a deepening of the relationship beyond Honda supplying engines to McLaren from the beginning of the 2015 Formula One championship.
“It’s a pure Formula One contract, but we’ve already been looking at automotive technology and we’re sharing that very openly,” Whitmarsh admitted.
“Our road car strategy at the moment has no other automotive partner and Honda would be a good place to collaborate. Nothing’s fixed, but we’re open to that and so are they.”
Regardless of the pair’s apparent enthusiasm, Whitmarsh said it would be some time before the fruits of any Honda involvement would be seen in McLaren road cars, with the brand’s next production car – codenamed P13 – developed entirely in-house.
“If you look at our product range, 12C is running and will run for a few more years,” he said.
“P1 has just been launched and P13, which is the follow-up car, is relatively developed, so actually it is something that you would see in quite a few years to come.”
Any road-car technology partnership would be expected to benefit not only McLaren but Honda as well. A number of reports have claimed the McLaren MP4-12C is being used in benchmark testing during the development of the upcoming Honda NSX hybrid supercar.
Honda and McLaren enjoyed a hugely successful partnership in Formula One between 1988 and 1992, claiming four drivers’ championships and four constructors’ championships in that time.