Pushing the boundaries of technology in a high-octane environment
12th April 2020 was a special day for IT Lab, as it marked ten years of a thrilling ride as McLaren’s Technology Services Partner.
As we pause to celebrate a decade of service and a unique partnership with McLaren, we’re conscious that this is a challenging time for the world. Perhaps fittingly, we have found ourselves working side by side with McLaren’s best to meet their needs during their additional work as part of the Ventilator Challenge UK. This is a consortium of significant UK industrial, technology and engineering businesses coming together to produce medical ventilators for the NHS. So, side by side, we celebrate together giving our best in these unprecedented times.
The McLaren Group is renowned as one of the world’s most iconic sports and technology brands with three key businesses. First, McLaren Racing - founded by New Zealand racing driver Bruce McLaren in 1963, is one of the most successful Formula 1 team’s in history, supported by millions of fans across the world. Second, McLaren Applied which works at the intersection of technology, data and human ingenuity to deliver quantifiable performance advantage in key sectors undergoing large-scale disruptive change. Finally, McLaren Automotive, a creator of luxury, high-performance sportscars and supercars, with pioneering design capabilities that consistently push the boundaries of innovation.
Behind these incredible businesses and their leading workforce is another dedicated team – the talented IT professionals and technologists at the IT Lab Group.
When did it all begin?
Our relationship with McLaren began in 2010, when even then, speed was of the essence.
McLaren expedited the procurement of a support service to meet the needs of its then 1800 staff. McLaren have always been uncompromising about quality, and the need for speed a given. IT Lab was able to meet both. Within days, the IT Lab team was on the ground, to ultimately become the ‘5555’ Service Desk, providing Tier 1 and 2 support for over 5,000 employees, operating in five countries and serving as one of the multiple layers of support to the McLaren Racing team, competing in 22 Formula 1 Grand Prix races each year.
One of the most iconic symbols of the British automotive industry, McLaren is very much a global leader. Being a global business, it needed global support. Turning again to IT Lab, they asked for a single global solution. We provide McLaren with onsite engineering support, through our dedicated international partners, delivering and managing infrastructure projects and services, 24x7x365.
Our dedicated team, operating around the clock with full resilience from our offices in London and Cape Town works seamlessly in concert with the on-site team based at the McLaren Technology Centre.
In 2018 [McLaren Applied] leveraged its world-famous technology innovation to launch enhanced Wi-Fi services on key national train services and routes across the UK. Once again, McLaren turned to IT Lab to support a key strategic initiative.
McLaren is synonymous with innovation, and technology is its currency, especially when it came to something as important as regulating the production line for its supercar production facility. Earlier this year, IT Lab, helped McLaren IT create a governance model enabling employees to apply the power of Microsoft’s PowerApps throughout the organisation, and with the knowledge and context of their individual departmental needs.
The Team Behind the Race Team
Very quickly into our partnership with McLaren, the service provided moved beyond remote IT support and into the realms of business efficiency, collaboration and communication.
McLaren Racing competes in over 20 Formula 1 Grands Prix races each year, typically one every two weeks in a series that spans five different continents from March to December. To succeed at this level, it’s imperative that the 100+ operational team members trackside are seamlessly connected to their factory-based counterparts back at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking. At IT Lab, we ensure that people not only stay connected but can collaborate and communicate in real-time at the cutting edge of decision-making.
“Each year, we find ourselves in an innovation and technology race to not only build but race and continually develop these ultra-high-performance machines. To be successful, we require fast, expert and reliable tech support around the clock due to our global race calendar. Whether it be reviewing a new part’s performance across Microsoft Teams or fixing remote working and software issues IT Lab provides us with the necessary expertise and support to ensure we can get the job done.”
Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing
IT Lab’s CEO, Peter Sweetbaum, added:
“I’m incredibly proud of our ‘team behind the team’ and all that they achieve. Their passion for the McLaren brand and the role they play in the group’s success runs deep. Our people live and breathe what they do for all our clients, and what we do for McLaren, we do for organisations of all shapes and sizes every day.
We are delighted to be celebrating 10 years of success supporting McLaren’s achievements on the track, on the road and by rail, but having been brought together to work side by side, with a common purpose supporting the delivery of ventilators to the NHS with the HVM Catapult initiative encapsulates the power of partnership.”