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A good week for McLaren

THERE was much rejoicing last weekend in Melbourne when McLaren's David Coulthard gave the team its first Grand Prix victory since Ayrton Senna's win in Adelaide in November 1993, ending an unsuccessful run of 49 races. It was the team's first event with its new sponsor West and will help ease the pressure on the team from Mercedes-Benz, which has finally won a Grand Prix victory in the modern era. "It's a fantastic result," said team boss Ron Dennis. "Let us hope it is the first of many."

What Ron did not tell everyone was that on the Friday before the event the team was finally granted planning permission to build its a new factory on a farm at Fairoaks - just four miles north of its current base in Woking - which the team acquired early in 1995.

The 125-acre site will be developed and a vast lake will be dug, next to which the team's headquarters building will be built. This will concentrate all the TAG/McLaren Group's companies onto one site, rather than the seven buildings currently being used.

The semi-circular factory will feature six different buildings, all linked to a central reception area. These will house two windtunnels - one of which will almost certainly be a 100% rolling road facility, the McLaren race team, TAG Electronics, TAG/McLaren Marketing and the McLaren Cars road car and GT racing programs.

The team has been trying to get planning permission for 18 months.

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