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Motorsport Valley®: The biggest hub of motor racing in the world

Posted by Silvia Grattieri on October 15, 2019
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Welcome to the biggest hub of motor racing in the world: the Motorsport Valley®

Also known as Silicon Fen, Motorsport Valley® refers to the cluster of firms based around Oxfordshire and the Midlands involved in supplying cutting-edge technology to Formula One, Formula E and many other motorsport sectors. They dominate the design and manufacture of components used in the majority of the world’s racing categories today.

The valley is also home to some of the world’s biggest and most recognised racing teams. It’s within the geography of this valley that science and technology take the forefront in pioneering the next big innovations in motorsports.

In this series of articles about the Motorsport Valley®, we seek to celebrate and provide firsthand insight into the professionals, companies and facts that make this location the pinnacle of motorsport, and hopefully inspire a new generation of motorsport professionals.

We at B-Hive Living — a premium operator of co-living spaces, serving the motorsport community locally produced the series with the overall ambition of developing eventually a mini guide that helps anyone interested in living and working in motorsport in Oxfordshire. At this edition, we will focus on giving a glimpse of the history and the major companies and teams based at the valley.

History

During the Second World war, the Thames Valley became important centre for aerospace engineering owing to its location which was ideal for building and servicing aircraft. Post the war many of the airfields and their engineers were no longer needed. This concentration of engineering talent was easily transitioned into motorsport alongside the abandoned airfields which proved to be the perfect infrastructure for racetracks. These conditions were too ideal to resist, and the valley saw motorsport companies flocking down to establish themselves here. The rest as they say was history — and the Motorsport Valley® was born!

Did you know?

The name Motorsport Valley has even been trademarked by the Motorsport Industry Association, the global trade association for the motorsport industry due to its unique qualities.

Motorsport Valley Facts

  • Motorsport Valley has around 4,300 companies that employ around 41,000 people; that’s a good-sized town in motorsport alone.
  • Motorsport in the UK has a turnover of £9 billion (as of 2019), which has more than doubled in the past twenty years.
  • Nearly 90% of the motorsport companies in the UK export overseas and the majority of this economic activity takes place in the Motorsport Valley®.
  • Motorsport Valley companies spend a colossal amount on R&D at around 25–30% of turnover — that’s even more than the pharmaceutical industry (which spends 15%).
  • 15 different universities in the UK offer motorsport engineering as a specific course, and these universities are clustered around Motorsport Valley® (more on that below).

“No matter where you live in Oxfordshire, 7 out of the 10 Formula 1 teams are within an hour’s drive. The majority of Formula E teams as well as many F2, F3, GT3 teams and their suppliers are based here too. If you’re looking to work in the motorsport sector, Oxfordshire is definitely the best area to do so!”

Mátyás Nagy– F1 Motorsport Engineer and former B-Hive Living resident

The Big Players

Get a glimpse of some of the major companies and teams at the forefront of motorsports which are based at the valley.

Formula 1

Mercedes– Brackley, Northamptonshire — Official Webpage

For Formula 1 fans, the name Mercedes has become synonymous with victory. Mercedes has become one of the most successful teams in recent Formula One history, having achieved consecutive Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships from 2014 to 2018.

McLaren- Woking, Surrey — Official Webpage

The McLaren Formula 1 team has been one of the most successful teams in the sport’s history. Since the team’s inception in 1966, they have won 182 races, 12 Drivers’ Championships and 8 Constructors’ Championships.

Aston Martin Redbull Racing- Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire — Official Webpage
Owned by beverage company Red Bull GmbH, the popular marketing line associated with the brand — Red bull gives you wings- seems to have been put into practice on track with the team dominating race weekends and making their way into several podium finishes.

Renault Sport — Enstone, Oxfordshire — Official Webpage
French auto car maker Renault is currently involved in Formula One as a constructor, under the name of Renault F1 Team. They have been associated with Formula One as both constructor and engine supplier for various periods since 1977.

Did you know?

Renault was responsible for introducing the first turbo engine in Formula One with the Renault RS01 when the company became a constructor in 1977

Williams Racing F1 — Grove, Oxfordshire — Official Webpage
Founded in 1977, the team has racked up several Grand Prix wins and championship glory. The team has also nurtured some of the greatest talents in the sportincluding Nigel Mansell, Jenson Button, Alain Prost, and Ayrton Senna.

Racing point F1- Silverstone, Northamptonshire — Official Webpage

Having the team’s base established a stone’s throw away from the legendary British racing circuit Silverstone, Racing Point F1 steadily established themselves as a midfield force under the Force India name from 2007.

Formula E

Envision Virgin Racing- Silverstone, Northamptonshire — Official Webpage

Based on prime real estate at Silverstone, the team has been a active competitor in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship since it’s very inception. Virgin Racing becomes Envision Virgin Racing for the 2018/19 season after partnering with a digital energy company: Envision Group.

Panasonic Jaguar Racing- Whitley, Coventry — Official Webpage

Having joined the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in 2016, the Panasonic Jaguar Racing team is ready to head into its third season in the series with its new Gen2 Jaguar I-TYPE 3.

Did you know?

With 54kWh of usable energy, the Gen2 Formula E battery could power an average British household for more than 4 days!

NIO Formula E Team– Oxford — Official Webpage

The NIO Formula E Team is the racing arm of Chinese car maker NIO, and the evolution of Team China Racing. The team secured the inaugural FIA Formula E Drivers’ Championship in 2015.

Automotive Companies & Suppliers Around Motorsport Valley

Catch sight of some of the companies and suppliers that make Motorsport Valley a hotbed for automotive innovation and talent.

Aston Martin– Gaydon, Warwickshire Official Webpage

Founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, Aston Martin is primarily associated with the manufacturing of grand tourers and luxury sports cars. Their cars are regarded as a British cultural icon.

BMW Mini– Cowley, Southeast Oxford Official Webpage

MINI is a British automotive marqueowned by BMW since 2000 and is responsible for pioneering the Mini Cooper — one of the most legendary small cars in automotive history. Their main plant is located right outside Oxford.

Jaguar– Whitley, Coventry Official Webpage

Founded in 1933 by William Lyons, Jaguar is an iconic British manufacturer and the name behind some of history’s most legendary cars like the Type-E. Its operations were completely merged with Land Rover to form the Jaguar Land Rover company.

Bentley– Crewe, Cheshire Official Webpage

Bentley is a British manufacturer and marketer of luxury cars and SUVs, founded in 1919 by W.O. Bentley and H.M. Bentley. The company claims to have one clear aim — to create extraordinary cars for extraordinary customers.

Prodrive– Banbury, Oxfordshire Official Webpage

Prodrive is a well-known British motorsport group that designs, constructs and races cars for companies and teams such as Aston Martin, Mini and Volkswagen. Prodrive first became well known for its involvement with the Subaru World Rally Team, developing championship-winning cars for Colin McRae and Richard Burns.

How we can help you

About the authors

B-Hive Living is an operator of private rental co-living homes re-defining shared living for a new generation of entrepreneurs and professionals in Oxfordshire and internationally.

Beyond mere accommodation, our homes offer a dynamic and life-enriching experience through well-designed areas and a calendar of social and cultural activities to foster connection, boost creativity and enable a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle.

If you are looking to join a vibrant community of like-minded motorsport professionals and enthusiasts, please reach outon +44 (0) 333 577 1088 or info@b-hiveliving.com.

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