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SBD Global/July 7, 2014/Finance

'Motorsport Valley' Engineering Firms Urged To Take Expertise Beyond Automotive Sectors

Before Sunday's British Grand Prix, Silverstone staged a "business conference with the unlikely theme of encouraging local engineering companies to look outside the sport," according to John Murray Brown of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Joe Greenwell of the "government's automotive investment organisation" said, "There is gathering interest in what you are all doing. But I do think we can market what is happening far more effectively than we’ve done in the past." Greenwell, a former Ford chair, was "addressing engineering companies, large car producers, defence contractors and private equity specialists on expanding the use of motorsport technology to other industries." Northamptonshire and adjoining counties make up what is referred to as "Motorsport Valley," a network of "about 3,000 small engineering companies." Largely because of this "expert supply chain, eight of the 11 Formula One racing teams have their headquarters in the UK, although most are foreign-owned." Motorsports governing body FIA has in recent years "aligned its regulations with the needs of the automotive sector, which is investing heavily in carbon-reducing technologies." Some Motorsport Valley companies are also looking to "take their expertise beyond automotive sectors." Whereas in the past, motorsport "took key technologies from the defence sector, today there are examples of technology transferring the other way" (FT, 7/4).
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