Rob Melville took over as design director last year at McLaren Automotive, the British manufacturer of supercars with a deep racing history. Melville, 40, received a master's degree in transport design at the Royal College of Art in London. Before joining McLaren in 2009, he worked at Jaguar Land Rover as well as General Motors. At both stops, the British designer worked in advanced design focusing on future concepts, strategy and platform development. McLaren recently added a second design studio to better handle the increased volume of projects thanks to Track 22, the automaker's product plan from 2016 that calls for 15 new models or derivatives through 2022. Melville spoke with Staff Reporter Jack Walsworth.
Q: When it comes to McLaren's Track 22 business plan, how much of a challenge is it knowing you have 11 more designs to go by a set time period?
A: I don't get to go home so often.
The good thing for me is, I'm already much further into it. I'm already at car eight or nine. I'm at the halfway point. With every car we do, we have such great conceptual thinking around the product, it just feels like the best new project to be on.
I look forward every day to coming into work, being with the team, working with the other disciplines within the company and just continuing to learn and challenging each other. Every day is full of pressure as well. We have to deliver the cars and we are a small team. But having 15 cars to do is not a problem.
How big is the design team at McLaren?
We are fairly small. We have 11 designers. We have five color and material designers, a team of around 10 clay modelists, two visualizers who make animations and two operations people. When you include the cast team as well, you're looking at around the 40 people mark. But typically, there can be up to 50 or 60 people in the studio.
What was the first McLaren designed under your direction?
That would be 570S and GT.