Yates not only built the car properly, like a McLaren, but also finished second in his academy year and drove to every race. His other car is a Toyota iQ.
Surprisingly, there is just the one Porsche here today. Diana Cordingley-Clark (SAP functional lead finance) shares her Porsche 911 Carrera 4 with her husband as a track car.
Track-day cars are something of a theme. Paul Reynolds (design engineer) took a humble 1.4-litre Honda Civic and then made it better. “It has now an Integra engine, Kevlar seat, six-point rollcage and Fujitsubo exhaust.”
A rather more complete Civic Type R belongs to Mark Salmon (graduate engineer). “This is the most fun and interesting car I could afford,” he says.
Inevitably, there are Mazda MX-5s. Jack Prior (digital variant configurator) put a joke bid on eBay and found he’d bought one, but he has no regrets. Dimitri Havel (functional safety engineer) has a 2000 example and says: “I love driving home to France with the top down. It’s the best feeling in the world.”
Rebecca Ewing (senior PDM co-ordinator) adores her 1990 MX-5, which is lowered, with a Mk2 hood and, most significant, “a MiniDisc player so I don’t have to listen to anyone else’s poor taste in music”.
There is more Japanese metal in the shape of some Nissan 350Zs, which belong to Mark Milne (controls engineer) and Greg Forsey (design engineer), whose example is a lightly modified one.
Finance analyst Justyna Gajda’s 2007 Suzuki Swift Sport arrived after six months of arguing with her fiancé: “Despite the fact you can feel every bump, I absolutely love it.”
Luigi Testa (SQA engineer) had been after a Honda S2000 since coming to Britain. “I was fascinated by the way it looked, the legendary engine and amazing dynamic response,” he says.
BMWs are certainly a thing in the McLaren car park. Paul Howse (senior designer) has a 2000 Touring, which he bought “because they are cheaper than saloons, and I figured that if people used them every day in the 1970s, then why not now?”
Hybrid engineer Damjan Mahne has an E36-generation M3 Evo as an everyday car and he plans “to take it to half a million miles”. Well, design engineer Harley Gasson’s E46-generation M3 has racked up an impressive 205,000 miles.