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BRITAIN can become a world leader in lightweight materials that could help create more efficient future vehicles, believes Mike Flewitt, the chief executive of luxury British sport scar and supercar maker McLaren Automotive.

Delivering a keynote speech to automotive leaders and policy makers at the SMMT industry summit in central London, Mr Flewitt called for a future "weight race" to replace the more traditional "power race".

He said industry and government need to work hand in hand 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.

McLaren Automotive is itself poised to open a £50 million McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) in the Sheffield region later this year.

The 7,000-square metre Yorkshire-based Centre will be where McLaren will innovate the process for making the ultra-lightweight and strong carbon fibre tubs at the heart of its luxury cars.

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