Delivering his keynote speech to automotive leaders and policy makers at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) industry summit in Central London, Flewitt called for a future “weight race” to replace the more traditional “power race”.

He said industry and government need to work together to develop the synergies between future powertrain development and the clever use of lighter materials that will help save weight and, therefore, reduce the energy needed to power them.

Flewitt said: “We now have a fantastic opportunity for the UK to be at the very forefront of a new automotive weight race that can help achieve increasingly tough environmental targets. While McLaren has a long history in using lightweight materials to boost vehicle performance, it’s something we are also heavily investing in as part of our future with the opening later this year of the brand-new McLaren Composites Technology Centre in Yorkshire.

“It will lead to innovations in the technology going into our cars and not only provide a significant boost to that region, to jobs and the supply chain but also to the UK’s reputation for innovation.

“It is clear to us that to be successful in lightweighting, industry and government need to continue to work closely to ensure we all capitalise on the benefits for the sector, for the UK in general and also for vehicle owners who will increasingly demand more efficient products that deliver the driving attributes they expect.”