Oxford, Formula 1 & the UK Motor Industry
Oxford Airport on a busy Silverstone Grand Prix weekend
Much of the UK's motorsport, and in particular F1 business, is undertaken within a short distance from Oxford with companies such as Renault F1, Jordan - Honda (now Midland F1), Williams F1, Reynard, British American Racing (BAR) - now ‘Honda Racing’, Prodrive, Zytech and many others based close by. Numerous component manufacturers and specialist engineering and design companies also reside locally, along with manufacturers such as BMW Mini and Ascari, manufacturer of a 210 mph road car. Even Harley Davidson have their European headquarters based at Oxford. Companies such as Menard Engineering and Hartham now reside at Leafield just 11 miles from the airport. This former design and engineering centre for TWR and the Arrows F1 team, was the original home to the development of cars such as the Aston Martin DB7 and Vanquish, the Jaguar XJ220 and Renault Sport Clio V6 but now hosts the Super Aguri Formula 1 team. The vast development and manufacturing operation at Gaydon for Aston Martin, Land Rover and Jaguar is just 25 miles to the north of the airport along with the Heritage Motor Centre. Collectively these businesses employ tens of thousands of employees within a half-hour drive of Oxford. A little further beyond the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit is the Red Bull F1 team at Milton Keynes, and specialist engine manufacturers such as Mercedes Ilmor, and Mahle Powertrain (Cosworth) in Northamptonshire, still around 35 miles from Oxford Airport.
A little further a field, the motor industries at Swindon (Honda) and Coventry (the Midlands) are only 40 miles away, along with the proposed new Prodrive-backed ‘Fulcrum Partnership’ motor industry design and development center at Honiley.
Vehicle test driving is undertaken both at Enstone and Turweston airfields nearby, along with rally and motorsports driving courses. Oxford University courses are provided for motor industry professionals and engineers. Oxford Brookes University are opening a new £5m auto sport academy in 2006 where some 750 engineering students will have access to a new School of Technology building. Many well known personalities in the motor industry are Oxfordshire residents, including the likes of TV presenters Jeremy Clarkson and Jason Plato. The fast-growing technology and research community around Oxford undertake studies into new materials, engine emissions and many other areas of direct relevance to this pioneering industry.
Accordingly the links between Oxford Airport and the motor industry have been long-standing.
The airport not only sees a steady flow of engineers, technicians, designers and team managers, but also the drivers and marketing professionals associated with the industry. Certain companies have regular weekly shuttles go from Oxford to plants and centres in continental Europe, whilst team managers and drivers are regularly moving in and out of Oxford for vehicle testing and races overseas and at Silverstone.
On several occasions, freight operations have bought in essential components for meeting urgent deadlines and even to keep the BMW production facility going without costly interruptions to assembly work. Engines, other components and even whole vehicles can easily be flown into or out of Oxford Airport right into the night without restriction.
On the Silverstone Grand Prix day itself, the skies above Oxford Airport have been known to resemble scenes from Apocalypse Now with an astonishing number of helicopter movements. In recent years we have seen 900 movements over just 2 hours on the Grand Prix day, whilst the Silverstone circuit itself has seen 4,200 movements on one day. That, by any measure, is an extraordinary number of helicopters to manage and control.
Oxford continues to be proud to have such close links with the motor industry and is always willing to advise local companies on solutions to their air transport needs in an industry where time really counts and the productivity gains through private use of aircraft can be of significant benefit. For companies contemplating relocating their business to the region to tap into the vibrant motor industry here, we can also advise on real-estate opportunities right on the doorstep of the airport itself - an ideal location both geographically and logistically.
For such advice, contact General Enquires on +44 (0)1865 290 600 / 710 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgFor helicopter services at Oxford Airport, call Capital Air Services at +44 (0) 1865 370 739