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The Industry

The Industry - A Statistician's Guide to the UK and Global Motorsport Industries

The UK is in pole position in the super-fast, technology-driven world of motorsport. It has a wealth of motorsport companies whose precision engineering and advanced technology skills are increasingly exploited by the mainstream automotive & defence industries. Increasingly other business sectors seeking solutions to cutting-edge performance engineering issues are attracted by the competitive, ‘can do’ and rapid production culture embedded in this Industry.

Successful firms supplying the global Industry are to be found throughout, in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The largest concentration of UK motorsport firms is to be located within ‘Motorsport Valley®’, a business cluster located in the centre of the UK, with Oxford at its centre. These companies supply the leading-edge technology used in Formula One and dominate the design and manufacture of components used in the majority of the world’s racing categories.

Since its rise to international prominence, Motorsport Valley® has continued to evolve as a global centre for agile advanced manufacturing, technological leadership, high level skills and service solutions. Motorsport Valley® attracts automotive OEMs and leading motorsport teams to harness the race-bred research and development, rapid prototyping capabilities, high-tolerance engineering skills and next-generation technology to find ‘the competitive edge’ for the development of modern road and racing vehicles. Companies from other industry sectors, defence, aerospace, marine and medical instrumentation have learned to turn to the motorsport industry when looking to accelerate the solution of their engineering problems and provide competitive advantage over their competitors.

Key Statistics from 2013 Review of the UK Motorsport Valley Business Cluster

The MIA in conjunction with Motorsport Research Associates, Department for International Trade and the Department of Business Innovation and Skills compiled a review of the UK Motorsport Valley Business Cluster. The review includes all motorsport engineering and services statistics where possible to the industry. The companies found within this motorsport cluster provide performance engineering solutions and act as a global centre for the production of performance cars’ chassis, engines, braking, suspension, transmission and telemetry components. A supporting services industry offering specialised legal, financial and insurance capabilities, has also built up around these world-class design and manufacturing businesses.

Key Figures

  • The industry boasts an annual turnover of £9 billion compared to £4.6 billion in 2000  
  • Approximately 4,500 companies are involved in the UK Motorsport and High Performance Engineering Industry
  • Of these firms, 87% export their products or services
  • Motorsport Valley® is a major source of value-added to the British economy - its average R&D spends of 25% of turnover, dwarfing even the UK Pharmaceutical and IT industries
  • The minimum estimated employment for the UK Motorsport activity is 41,000, compared to 38,500 in 2000.

The major automotive OEMs want their brands to be linked with the enormous and popular success of Grand Prix racing, which attracts a vast world-wide audience. Internationally renowned automotive OEM’s such as Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley, Ford, Nissan, Honda, BMW, Volkswagen, Renault and Mercedes Benz continue to establish or invest in the highly innovative UK motorsport based performance engineering cluster. They also want to exploit the motorsport industry’s huge investment in advanced technology for the development of a new generation of road vehicles - motorsport provides the laboratory for future technologies.

Most motorsport engineering firms (53%) believe energy-efficient, low-carbon technologies will be at the heart of future growth. Many indicate an increasing opportunity, to exploit their motorsport engineering capabilities, to efficiently bridge the gap between rapid response, specialist prototyping and mainstream commercialisation of low-carbon technologies by the automotive, defence and aerospace industries.

To download a copy of the Highlights from the 2013 Review of the UK Motorsport Valley Business Cluster – click here.

MIA Members can download the full 2013 Review of the UK Motorsport Valley Cluster in the Members’ Area – Document Archive.