“Motorsport is a cornerstone of the UK economy, and a shining light of UK technical and innovation excellence across the world”
“The UK is THE global leader in the sport and business of motorsport. Motorsport Vallet is a ‘mature economic business cluster’ which is number one in the world”
Silverstone is the epicentre of F1 and is famous around the globe for its world-class race circuit. The home of British motorsport for more than 50 years, it is host to international events such as the Formula 1 British Grand Prix and the British round of MotoGP. The breadth and depth of companies in the resultant supply chain, together with the technical expertise and innovative minds within the cluster, are unique across the globe.
Silverstone Park has the potential to be the largest Technology Park in Great Britain, and a global destination for engineering, innovation and business development. Already home to over 80 High Performance and Technology businesses, Silverstone Park is a designated Enterprise Zone located at the heart of UK’s High Performance and Technology Cluster. There are over 4,000 high-tech supply chain companies within a one hour radius of Silverstone Park, providing specialist expertise, services and equipment and the park has access to an excellent road network to all parts of the UK. Silverstone Technology Cluster has recently been established as a not-for-profit organisation to support the growth of the high-tech cluster and attract investment to the region.
With eight of the 11 F1 constructor teams in the area, most F1 motor-racing teams are based in Motorsport Valley, including Williams, Renault, Red Bull, Force India and Haas F1. The region is fast becoming a growing base of international Tier 1 and 2 suppliers.
Headquartered in Indianapolis, US, Andretti Autosport has recently chosen to relocate its UK-based Formula E team operations from Donnington Park in Leicestershire to the heart of the Motorsport Valley in Banbury, Oxfordshire. With strong ties to several marques, including BMW, Honda and Volkswagen, the team is owned by former CART Series champion Michael Andretti.
Augmenting Haas F1 Team’s United States home in Kannapolis, North Carolina, is the recent purchase of a facility in Banbury, in the Thames Valley. The 3.655 square-meter (39,350 square-foot) building serves as Haas F1 Team’s European base, allowing for easier and quicker access to the team’s overseas suppliers and streamlined logistics for when the team travels to Formula One venues in Europe. The team’s equipment, from transporters to the pit apparatus to garage setup, is all housed at Haas F1 Team’s Banbury location.
Red Bull, which has significant premises close to Silverstone, commented: “From the outside perhaps not a sight to set the heart racing but inside it’s the fastest, most exciting, most alluring, most impossibly brilliant factory in the whole of Motorsport Valley.”
Building One, their original home, houses its design team and initial manufacturing in the workshop. Building Two is their race workshop, where the cars are put together and taken apart by their race crews, who also have a replica pit box in which they practice stops continually. Its newest addition, Building Three, is home to the shinier machine shop and composites facility.
The Williams F1 team based in the Thames Valley has 130 staff with 90 qualified engineers. Its conference centre is home to the largest private collection of Formula One cars in the world, housing more than 40 of the team’s seminal race cars. The Williams Grand Prix collection charts the team’s 30+ years of motor racing history.
The heart of the British installation of the Renault Sport Formula One Team is at Enstone in the Thames Valley. The facility has many purposes, including working with Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 drivers.
Sahara Force India F1 Team, which bought Spkyer F1 for €88 million in 2008, chose to remain at Silverstone, where changes of ownership date back to the Jordan team, who first moved there in 1991, now with a 26-year lineage at Silverstone.
In the broader motorsport arena, Prodrive has facilities across Motorsport Valley. They are one of the world’s largest and most successful independent motorsport businesses having run programmes for major names including Porsche, MG, BMW, Aston Martin, MINI, Ford, Honda, Subaru and Alfa Romeo.
Today they run programmes for Aston Martin in the world sports car series and for MINI and VW in international rallying and rallycross. Their unrivalled experience and engineering capability means they can develop competition cars and run them in almost any motorsport series in the world.
Uniti Sweden has recently announced its plans to establish an electric vehicle ‘pilot production plant’ at Silverstone Park, the first of several planned initiatives for Uniti to settle in the UK. Expected to be operational by 2020, the facility will be used to produce the Uniti One electric car, aligning with the UK’s industrial strategy to lead the world in zero emission and autonomous vehicle technologies.
Xtrac is a Thatcham-based automotive and motorsport specialist that designs and manufactures high-performance transmissions used by motorsport teams around the globe. The company recently welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May to open its new manufacturing facility extension, which effectively represents a £22 million investment in UK manufacturing.
Part of the value of being in a cluster is the ancillary offering which co-locates, such as the Oxford Materials Characterisation Service. Part of the global number one University of Oxford it has strong links within the motorsport industry with their services very much in demand.
Many businesses in the northern part of Motorsport Valley take advantage of Oxford Airport, which operates seven days a week offering scheduled and chartered flights as well as air taxis and helicopters. Farnborough Airport is an operational business/executive general aviation airport which services the southern sector of Motorsport Valley.
Motorsport Valley has a range of universities with industry specific courses from which to recruit staff, including:
Relevant courses include:
Oxford Brookes University offers an MSc in Racing Engine Design, which is the only programme of its kind in the world, helping feed the talent pool required by Motorsport Valley. Designed to produce highly-skilled graduates who are ready to undertake advanced design roles with major engine manufacturers and their supply chain it has been developed with the specific requirements of the race engine manufacturers.
They also boast a fully equipped Automotive Laboratory, including:
The Thermodynamics Laboratory, which supports the engine testing programmes within the department, comprises four engine test cells housing the following:
The laboratory is instrumented with an AVL indimeter, a high-speed data acquisition system, engine emissions gas analysers and in-cylinder pressure sensors allowing in-depth engine performance investigations. The laboratory also houses a drop tube furnace which is a specialised fuel analysis system.
The UK leads the world in motor sport with a turnover of £9 billion and more than 4,500 businesses operating in the sector. To read more about the UK – the global home of motorsport – see here