14 Jan 2019
The Fascinating World of Motorsport Valley®: 7 Amazing Facts
Motorsport is a large business – particularly within the UK.
Britain leads the world in motorsport. We host rounds of the Formulation One World Championship and the World Rally Championship. A number of main F1 groups are based mostly right here, together with McLaren, Williams, Mercedes and Lotus. The business employs hundreds and contributes billions to the financial system. And its coronary heart within the UK is Motorsport Valley®.
Motorsport is an astonishingly difficult, aggressive business. A Method One automotive accommodates tens of hundreds of elements, all of which need to be in good working order. Drivers in a single race change gear hundreds of occasions. Any errors within the precision of the engineering won’t solely end in dropping the race – they could possibly be deadly to the driving force, as this record of driver deaths over time attests. Avoiding tragedy requires super experience.
British motorsport advantages massively from having Motorsport Valley® as a hub of this experience. The identify – like Silicon Fen – is derived from Silicon Valley, and it refers back to the half of the Thames Valley in Oxfordshire and the West Midlands that’s house to the bulk of the UK’s motorsport corporations and engineers. Eight of the eleven groups that compete in Formulation One are based mostly in Motorsport Valley®. The identify has even been trademarked by the Motorsport Business Affiliation, the worldwide commerce affiliation for the motorsport business, which can also be based mostly close by in Warwickshire.
Oxford Royale Academy is launching a fast-paced and thrilling new course in Mastering Automotive Engineering for college kids aged 16 to 18 in summer time 2019, which shall be based mostly on the coronary heart of Motorsport Valley®. College students taking this 6-week course will stay, dine and research in schools of the College of Oxford, studying concerning the ins and outs of motorsport engineering by constructing a Caterham sports activities automotive from scratch – which on the final day of the course, they’ll have the ability to check out on the monitor.
In the event you’re on this course – or on the planet of motorsport within the UK extra usually – right here’s what you must find out about Motorsport Valley®.
How do hubs like Motorsport Valley® come about? Within the case of Silicon Fen, the presence of the College of Cambridge drove tech corporations to the world, however Motorsport Valley® had no such close by influences. As an alternative, it was a focus of labour within the space that introduced motorsport corporations to the Thames Valley.
In the course of the Second World Warfare, the Thames Valley had been an important centre for aerospace engineering. This map of WWII airfields demonstrates a key purpose why – airfields have been sometimes concentrated round areas in want of defence, reminiscent of main cities and ports, however far sufficient away from these areas that the airfields themselves have been comparatively protected from bombing raids (the exception being the focus of airfields across the Kent coast, the place hazard was unavoidable). The location of the Thames Valley was excellent for constructing and servicing plane for the defence of London, whereas being far sufficient away that these airfields weren’t caught in bombing raids on London itself.
After the Second World Warfare, many of the airfields and their engineers have been not wanted. But right here have been engineers expert in constructing a difficult product, specifically quick, light-weight plane that have been fast to restore; these expertise translated simply into motorsport. The airfields additionally offered infrastructure as they have been simply transformed into racetracks. It made apparent sense for motorsport corporations to be established the place the required expertise, experience and infrastructure for his or her companies might already be discovered.
Estimates range on precisely what number of of the world’s prime engineers work in Motorsport Valley®, however it’s roughly 25,000 individuals, or 80% of the world’s prime motorsport engineers. However of course, it takes greater than engineers to make a motorsport enterprise work. Add in everybody else – the entrepreneurs, the managers, the help employees – and Motorsport Valley® employs round 41,000 individuals; that’s a good-sized city in motorsport alone.
What’s additionally notable is that this isn’t just some giant companies dominating the world. Motorsport Valley® can also be a hub of small and medium-sized companies; there are round four,300 companies based mostly there, in order that’s a mean of lower than ten staff per firm. Naturally, there are some a lot bigger corporations and a few with only one or two staff.
The penalties of this continued focus of engineering expertise is that new corporations are incentivised to arrange their bases in Motorsport Valley®, and any engineer who needs to attempt their hand at turning an ideal concept into their very own firm is already in an incredible location to take action. Having a available extremely expert workforce is sweet for corporations, and having a variety of attainable employment alternatives is sweet for engineers; and each of this stuff together assist to drive innovation and productiveness.
For motorsport corporations to remain forward of the competitors (actually), creating new and progressive concepts is significant, and meaning placing an enormous proportion of their general spend into R&D. General spend on R&D by the motorsport business within the UK is round 25-30% of turnover – that’s extra even than famously innovation-focused industries just like the pharmaceutical business (which spends 15%), the automotive business extra usually (which spends 6%) and engineering as an entire (simply four%). This degree of spend and ensuing innovation is a big half of why motorsport contributes a lot to the UK financial system.
It’s additionally a think about what makes this area so fascinating. Whereas some features of motorsport have stayed fixed over time (similar to what’s required of drivers), engineers continuously need to familiarize yourself with new supplies, new applied sciences and new methods. Laws are additionally recurrently up to date in Method One, requiring engineers to adapt accordingly. That makes for a working surroundings the place there’s little probability of becoming bored from doing the identical factor yr after yr. For example, for 2021, the gasoline allowance has been elevated, in order that drivers might want to do much less coasting to save lots of gasoline and can be capable of push their engines to the utmost for longer. That makes for extra thrilling, quicker races in addition to new challenges for engineers.
Fifteen totally different universities within the UK supply motorsport engineering as a selected, tailor-made course, an extra 200 schools additionally supply motorsport programs, and lots of different universities supply engineering programs that – whereas not essentially tailor-made to motorsport – definitely help college students who’re fascinating in motorsport engineering as a future profession.
Naturally, the schools providing tailor-made levels are clustered round Motorsport Valley®, akin to Warwick College, Coventry College and Oxford Brookes College. Many such programs may even have shut hyperlinks to business, permitting their college students to spend a yr in business that may forge connections prepared for his or her future careers. And the profit additionally accrues to motorsport corporations, who can be sure that the subsequent era of motorsport engineers are being enthused and outfitted with the talents they’ll have to take the business ahead.
When you’re a scholar concerned about turning into a motorsport engineer in future, our course in Mastering Automotive Engineering might help you determine which college course is perhaps the best choice so that you can obtain your racing goals. For example, it could be that you simply need to go straight right into a BEng in Automotive Engineering, or as an alternative you may want to decide on a extra wide-ranging engineering undergraduate diploma, and as an alternative specialize in automotive engineering in an MEng as an alternative. Each choices are attainable at British universities, so it merely is dependent upon what your ambitions and pursuits are; our academics can advise you.
Keep in mind all that R&D spend? It isn’t simply motorsport that advantages. Many applied sciences developed for the difficult world of motorsport translate simply into automotive engineering extra usually; as an example, semi-automatic gearboxes, traction management and roll cages all got here from motorsport. Any enhancements in acceleration, braking and tyre design additionally translate simply from motorsport to on a regular basis automobiles.
There’s an much more primary innovation that got here from motorsport: the rear view mirror, within the very early days of racing. It wasn’t designed to make driving safer or simpler; it was developed to ensure that drivers to see if there was anybody about to overhaul them within the race. But since then, rear view mirrors have develop into an indispensable half of automotive design, making us all safer. In fact, it isn’t simply usually automotive engineering that motorsport improvements apply; new supplies like carbon fibre, popularised by motorsport, at the moment are utilized in all kinds of different fields. Components One automobiles should be quick, mild and very protected, and these options are transferable to many different fields, simply as the talents of aerospace engineers are transferable to motorsport engineering.
It’s not simply that Motorsport Valley® has the talents and the infrastructure; the impression of this cluster of experience is clear within the prizes gained by British motorsport, particularly in Components One. Since 1950, when the Formulation One World Championship started, thanks in vital half to the engineers and corporations of Motorsport Valley®, the UK has gained extra titles than some other nation, with 10 world champions accumulating a complete of 18 titles.
Apart from Scuderia Ferrari, all probably the most profitable Formulation One groups are based mostly within the UK – primarily in Motorsport Valley®. It’s undeniably motivating for British motorsport engineers to have this report of success to stay as much as and to see their efforts translate into wins. And it isn’t simply in Method One which the UK stands out; for example, Britain has had extra profitable drivers than another nation on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, together with the host nation of France.
You is perhaps questioning concerning the racing historical past of the Caterham Seven 270, the automotive that you simply’ll construct should you be a part of us for our course in Mastering Automotive Engineering. Numerous fashions of the Caterham Seven have been raced and dominated many races, however have been then banned within the US and UK for being – of their phrases – “too fast to race”, embarrassing the competitors. But regardless of these assorted bans, the Caterham Seven is probably the most raced on the planet at present.
Motorsport can appear frivolous, even reckless when the risks are thought-about. However its influence, as we’ve seen, is appreciable: driving employment, schooling, design and security innovation throughout all kinds of fields.
Nevertheless, the extent of this will shock you: motorsport within the UK has an astonishing turnover of £9 billion, which has greater than doubled up to now twenty years; even permitting for inflation, this represents exceptional progress. Almost 90% of the motorsport corporations within the UK export abroad, which is exceptional provided that many of them have solely a handful of staff. And of course, the bulk of this astounding financial exercise takes place in Motorsport Valley®.
To place this in context, this turnover is significantly larger than that of all Britain’s bus corporations mixed. Components One-related companies alone accounted for greater than £2 billion of turnover in 2012, a determine that may solely have grown since then. It’s notably notable that this determine is from a time when Britain was deep in recession; it’s been theorised that the recession might even have been useful for British motorsport, main companies to diversify and broaden their expertise base to be able to keep their revenue. Motorsport won’t look like the type of business that may thrive in a recession, however British motorsport is undeniably full of surprises.
In our Mastering Automotive Engineering course, you’ll study all concerning the business in principle and in apply . This hands-on course combines classroom research with a lot of workshop periods as you construct a street authorized Caterham sports activities automotive. So for those who’re fascinated by British motorsport and need to study this superb business within the coronary heart of Motorsport Valley®, be a part of us this summer time and familiarize yourself with Mastering Automotive Engineering.
Picture credit: Spitfire; Caterham; automotive engine; Warwick College; rear view mirror; trophy; manufacturing unit; Lewis Hamilton.