The South African

Growing cars on trees: 10-year-old designs ‘supercar of the future’


Taking inspiration from nature, using advanced materials, and capable of being grown on a tree — combined with stunning supercar looks — were the hallmarks of the winning design of McLaren’s “supercar of the future” competition unveiled live on Blue Peter.

Ten-year old Alex’s design enthused the expert judges with its future-focused, sustainable design elements wrapped in a bold bodywork and aero efficient lines.

The Superganic 3000

In one of Blue Peter’s most popular competitions, Alex’s design was chosen from 8000 entries received following the competition’s launch in May 2020.

“Alex’s Superganic 3000 car shaped like a green leaf stood out.  He described his design as ‘sleek, streamlined, lightweight and incredibly beautiful’ and we had to agree,” said Blue Peter editor Ellen Evans about Alex’s winning design.

Who can imagine if in the future there will be a biodegradable supercar made from graphene and powered by photosynthesis?”

True to McLaren’s spirit

“It’s clear that not only is he a gifted artist but he also has a clear vision and interest in science, how things work and what objects are made of. Those factors combine at McLaren and lead to technology and performance benefits,” said McLaren design director Rob Melville.

His idea of growing cars on trees is so innovative which is also so true to McLaren’s spirit. If we can grow human body parts in the lab now, then why not sustainable car parts in the future?

Melville and his team then worked with Alex to turn his ideas and initial sketches into a large-scale clay model, as well as virtual renders to bring it to life.

‘Alex Leaf Green’

And in honour of Alex’s winning design, McLaren and its paint partner AkzoNobel have developed a special “Alex Leaf Green” paint colour.

Alex’s prize included a VIP trip to the McLaren Production Centre in Woking, Surrey, where brand ambassador Amanda McLaren welcomed him and showed him where the supercars are hand-built. He also met with Melville and his team to work on his design and scientist Ella Podmore to discuss his car’s lightweight materials.

Special laps with The Stig

Then Alex got to experience a supercar for himself with some special laps in a 720S driven around the TopGear track by The Stig himself.

Alex’s winning design will now go on display at the McLaren Technology Centre’s famous Boulevard and take pride of place alongside McLaren’s historic cars.

“Meeting Rob, Ella and Amanda, seeing where the supercars are made and getting a ride in a real McLaren has been incredible,” Alex enthused.

“I liked working with the designers to see my winning design come to life and being able to sit in my design virtually was incredible as was getting to experience a 720S driven by The Stig around the TopGear track.

Image via Twitter @McLarenAuto

I’m always sketching and drawing, especially cars, so to win the prize was amazing and after this I definitely want to work on supercars and new technologies when I’m older.”


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