At the root of McLaren's core is technology. Although we always picture the brand solely as an automaker or championship racing team, futuristic advancements in general are the Woking company's bread and butter. Its Applied Technologies division is a separate branch that focuses on non-automotive projects, and out of its high-tech trenches comes this: an exo-skeletal brace, made for an anonymous billionaire out of the strongest man-made material on Earth.
McLaren's Health and Wellness sector was approached by Client X, an affluent go-getter with a larger net worth than my whole line of ancestors combined. Men's Health was able to dive deep into this special mission, dubbed Project Invincible, which was created for the customer to protect his weakened mid-section.
The chest plate and shield, made out of carbon fiber, Dyneema (used in bulletproof vests) and Zylon, an ultra-high strength material used in the company's current F1 car, was McLaren's answer to Client X's wishes.
"Client X came to us wanting to feel less fragile," Project Invincible leader Dan Toon told Men's Health. "He wanted to feel normal."
In order to do that, McLaren took three months to design this $250,000 piece of equipment. It, in turn, serves as protection to Client X's torso that has been worn by multiple surgeries and incidents. A rear shield was also incorporated to protect his slightly compromised kidneys, enveloping him in this seemingly-bionic suit. According to McLaren, even the simplest of everyday activities like putting on a seatbelt caused the customer pain, meaning he wanted top-notch quality to stop the hurting.
McLaren Applied Technologies dug into the client's health records to get a better understanding of his needs. By doing this, it was able to construct a seamless piece of body armor that would make even Tony Stark jealous.
Impact tests were key for McLaren, so the equipment was put through tests ranging from 30 Joule to 150 Joule, the latter being the equivalent of "dropping 5 bowling balls, or 75 pounds, onto your chest from a few feet up.” Under this type of force, the shield behaves like a road car's crumple zones, cracking while dispersing the impact across its surface.
Extensive research and top-level construction helped McLaren give Client X exactly what they were asking for.
Toon noted, "He’s a billionaire so you don’t get too much praise from him, but he kept doing this nodding of approval throughout our film, so that felt good.”
Upon receiving his special-ordered kit, Client X was satisfied enough to refer several of their friends with similar issues to the company, according to McLaren. This will help to blossom its Health and Wellness division that has already skyrocketed as of late, furthering its development of human-related tech.
Get the full Project Invincible story over at Men's Health.