By Spencer Feingold
The McLaren Group, a leading motor sports technology company, is bringing its innovations in racing to other industries such as healthcare and aviation, the company’s top executive in North America told Cheddar.
“We are really trying to find industries going through disruptive change,” McLaren’s Vice President Ben Priest told Betty Liu, executive vice chair for the New York Stock Exchange, in an interview Wednesday as part of an NYSE partnership with Cheddar.
Priest was joined by Blake Irving, the former CEO of GoDaddy who now sits on McLaren's Business Advisory Group, which was founded in January 2018 and comprises of 12 prominent global business leaders.
McLaren is best known as a leader in competitive Formula 1 racing. The company’s racing team has won 20 World Championships and over 180 races since its formation in 1963. In recent years, McLaren has ushered in digital technologies and data collection practices to Formula 1.
The company's technology business, McLaren Applied Technologies, is now working with governments and business leaders in various industries to integrate racing technology is other sectors. The technologies that McLaren hopes to introduce can be applied broadly and improve systems ranging from airport flight delays to prescription delivery services, according to Priest. The company is also working with the Singaporean government to improve the city-state’s public transportation.
“We are taking technologies derived from Formula 1, and then applying it other areas such as public transport, aviation, and motor sport as well,” Priest said.
Through a partnership with Deloitte, McLaren has also developed a predictive analytics software program from Formula 1 that manufacturing companies can use to create more efficient supply side operations. It is also working with GlaxoSmithKline to improve its supply chain. Priest said the company expects to announce more clients for that technology over the next 12 months.
One area of innovation the company is not currently chasing is electric vehicle technology.
"There's no denying that the electrification of cars is going to play a big part in the future of the automotive industry," Priest said. "For us, we're not going there now."
"We're obviously very involved in battery technology. We provide all of the batteries to the racing series Formula E through our McLaren Applied Technologies business," he added. "But as far as that's going to impact our road cars, it's a 'not now' thing. Maybe in the future."