Here at PRV we provide services to the motorsport industry and there’s no denying that there’s an insatiable appetite for all things motorsport in the UK. TV programmes and Formula 1 viewing figures back that up and the Formula E series was a big hit. But just how much does the engineering in motorsport impact the everyday road car development?
There will be some that say it doesn’t; F1 and race weekends are nothing but a chance for celebrity and excess to take the platform. However, that’s not the view of the motorsport Industry Association (MIA) or the automotive industry themselves, who say that the engineering innovations in motorsport have a significant impact on the wider industry.
You’ll never escape the fact that motorsport is an entertainment business that has advanced engineering as an essential and critical part of what it does. And a huge part of that engineering development is resident here in the UK. Seven of the ten Formula 1 constructors have a UK base and the knowledge that comes from those bases can’t help but spread across the automotive sector. The development of building prototypes in the UK is likely to have benefits moving forward not just in the automotive sector but also in other engineering sectors.
UK motorsport is able to identify the use of improved parts more quickly than the general automotive industry as they are more critical to things like weight to strength ratios. In addition the production numbers and costs are more acceptable to motorsport. However, some of these parts are now beginning to filter in to the general automotive industry – admittedly to the more expensive end of the range, but it’s development that’s being engineered here in the UK.
Formula E, which had it’s first season 2014/15 is geared towards developing electric drivetrain technologies that can be transferred to road cars and Berkshire based company Xtrac are a prime example of how that’s being achieved. Xtrac provide transmission systems for all areas of the motorsport industry and is a business using their motorsport engineering expertise to improve the performance of road cars.
They are part of a project led by Jaguar Landrover which also includes representation from Lotus and Nissan. The project is working hard to find solutions to overcome the main obstacle for the uptake of electric vehicles – battery range. So their work in Formula E is serving as a framework for research and development into electric vehicles generally, and could impact the future of the motor industry.
A Motorsport industry report detailing some of the more technical developments in the UK can be read here.