Update: A McLaren spokesperson tells us this announcement is actually about the McLaren P1 supercar entering production. Prodrive is supplying the carbon-fiber bodywork for the P1 supercar.
British automotive supplier Prodrive announced today it has taken a £15 million order (about $23.9 million) for carbon-fiber bodywork. Although Prodrive doesn't disclose which company made the order, there are several clues it might be Aston Martin.
Prodrive supplies a wide range of automotive products for motorsports and road car applications. The company has its own 2.5-mile test track, sponsors its own racing teams, and produces an assortment of carbon-fiber car parts. The new order is so large that Prodrive Composites plans to hire 40 more production technicians atop its existing staff of about 160. Prodrive characterizes the order as parts for "a new supercar now entering production for one of the world's most prestigious vehicle manufacturers."
That signals the order could have been placed by Aston Martin for a new supercar. Previously, Aston Martin contracted Canadian firm Multimatic Inc. to produce the carbon-fiber tubs for the ultra-exclusive One-77, the V12 Zagato, and the CC100 Speedster concept (pictured), but it's possible the company is shifting to a U.K.-based supplier. The One-77 had exposed carbon fiber inside its cabin, a feature that Prodrive hints is part of its newest order: "The greatest challenge for component finish is on the interior parts, which use a uniquely tactile surface."
It's unclear whether Aston Martin will contract Prodrive to build another limited-run exclusive model like the One-77, or if this announcement could signal a new version of one of the company's flagship cars. Either way, numbers will be limited, as Prodrive's announcement says it will build, "premium components for supercars in volumes of a few hundred."
Aston Martin announced earlier this year a technical partnership with Mercedes-Benz AMG, which will see the British marque use V-8 engines and electrical components from Mercedes-AMG in its future supercars. There was no announcement, however, about Aston using Mercedes body or chassis components.
Other clues increasing the likelihood that Prodrive may collaborate with Aston Martin include the fact that Prodrive's facilities in Milton Keynes are just an hour's drive from Aston's headquarters in Gaydon, England; that Prodrive chairman David Richards also happens to be chairman of Aston Martin; and that Prodrive already helps develop the Aston Martin Works and customer racing cars.
Expect more official details on the Prodrive contract to emerge as the unnamed supercar approaches production.