GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) wants to find out what auto racing can bring to pharmaceutical development.

The London-based pharma giant is partnering with Formula 1 racing firm McLaren Group a deal that will apply McLaren’s engineering and technology to GSK’s global operations. The partnership will focus at first on GSK’s manufacturing, R&D and consumer healthcare operations.

The deal also calls for the construction of a new facility at focused on engineering called the McLaren GSK Centre for Applied Performance. The facility will be built at McLaren’s headquarters outside of London and is expected to open in 2013.

“This partnership is another example of GSK looking outside its sector for inspiration and fresh perspectives on how we can achieve our strategic goals in an ever more challenging and fast changing business environment,” GSK CEO Andrew Witty said in a prepared statement.

No financial terms of the agreement were disclosed. The deal is set to run until 2016. London-based GSK has its U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park.

For McLaren, the partnership is the firm’s first with a pharmaceutical company. McLaren Executive Chairman Ron Dennis said in a statement that the goal is for GSK to use McLaren’s technology and processes to enhance the performance of GSK operations. Here’s a look at how McLaren could help GSK.

Manufacturing – A Formula 1 team is allowed a maximum of eight engines to use across 20 races. So McLaren developed a system of modeling every working component in the car to provide intelligence to predict fatigue and failure. GSK and McLaren believe this approach could improve GSK’s manufacturing operations, reducing breakdowns and costs.

R&D – McLaren developed a system that allows for wireless monitoring of every aspect of a car’s performance during a race. The technology allows the team to make adjustments every few minutes in order to avoid a more time-consuming stoppage. GSK and McLaren will try to apply this approach to human studies.

Consumer Healthcare – GSK will construct a facility at its headquarters modeled on McLaren’s “Mission Control” unit, which analyses a team’s performance and provides information to drivers during a Grand Prix race. The goal is to provide faster responses to competitor activity and customer needs. McLaren’s analytical and performance management tools will also be used to improve GSK’s ability to make faster decisions for its consumer product operations.

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