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CHRIS AYLETT’S MOTORSPORT INSIGHTS: Motorsport and Automotive Collaboration

29 Sep 2016

Motorsport and Automotive collaboration - a winning partnership

The relationship between the motorsport and automotive sectors has always been an unusual interaction. The two industries, although developing cars and often relying on staff with some similar skills, have very different features which separate them into two distinct worlds. Automotive is characterised by its long development process (six years or more from inception to final assembly of a new model, often re-using the same validated technology and components for improving reliability. Motorsport, on the other hand, invests a large part of its income, over 30%, on R&D to initiate and develop high-performance technology in a very short time, sometimes weeks or months, which makes them a perfect laboratory for future technologies.
The UK automotive industry has been going from strength to strength over the last few years with full government support for such a large international success story. However, demands put on automotive companies to deliver a wide variety of new powertrain solutions has led to R&D and prototyping work escalating at a speed never seen before.
The MIA, for the past decade or more, has tried to help motorsport SMEs to engage with mainstream automotive to accelerate delivery of their innovations. In 2006, the MIA launched its Motorsport to Automotive programme alongside its Motorsport to Defence programme, to introduce the unique, fast response capabilities of its members to the UK’s automotive supply chain. This strategic work is now beginning to pay off.
With their world-class R&D prototyping capabilities using advanced-technology and rapid delivery, motorsport companies offer a perfect solution for automotive companies who find it hard to react quickly. Motorsport SMEs exist on speed of delivery and high quality of low volume solutions, and can respond fast enough to meet the growing need for speed of change in automotive. Increasingly, OEM and Tier 1 suppliers are outsourcing their R&D based projects to the motorsport community.
Jaguar Land Rover, as an example, now utilise a growing number of motorsport-based companies, some of which have grown in the last three years from very small operations to significantly sized businesses. The MIA’s Motorsport to Automotive programme helps any motorsport company to access this market through in-house ‘showcases of capability’ events, where engineers meet engineers to find solutions together to their problems. This very simple but efficient formula increases the speed of engagement and resolution - the results speak for themselves.
Many millions of pounds of new business for motorsport companies have been created through the MIA Motorsport to Automotive programme, and I am sure there is plenty more to come.

Chris Aylett, CEO, Motorsport Industry Association

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