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The British motorsport industry


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#1 Bradley

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 14:57

I was reading Stefanie Gork Ruiz-Herrera's article titled “A short history of the UK Motorsport Industry” and I thought her analysis on the British motorsport industry was very interesting. :up:

Source: Professional Motorsports World, 2009, written by Stefanie Gork Ruiz-Herrera (Munich, Germany)

“The growth of a globally significant UK motorsport industry can be traced to the post-World War II era. Before 1939, UK involvement in international motorsport had been intermittent with motorsport essentially the domestic preserve of wealthy gentlemen drivers. For example, the first Grand Prix on the oval circuit at Brooklands, held in 1928, was viewed as part of “the season”, along with Ascot, Wimbledon and Henley. Honorable competitive exceptions on the international stage included Bentley and ERA but, overall, it was Italian and German cars that dominated between the wars.
It was during the decades after World War II that the UK laid the foundations to grow a motorsport industry that today dominates global production. The introduction of the 500 cc formula in Britain, later known internationally as Formula 3, opened up the sport to a new breed of constructor, epitomized by Cooper. Drawing on the organizational form of the “network” firm, the UK garagistes, as they were named by Enzo Ferrari himself, transformed the technological and organizational framework for building world-beating racing cars.
In 1946, the Cooper-JAP consisted of a frame joining together a Fiat Topolino suspension and wheels, a Triumph gearbox and a JAP motorcycle engine. In essence, the assembly of a rear-engined car constructed using extensive sub-contracting and by utilizing existing components – a vertically disintegrated production system. By 1959, Cooper had sold over 1,000 of this type of car worldwide. The firm had become the world’s largest manufacturer of pure-bred racing cars with a staff that barely ever exceeded 35 employees.
Similarly, in the 1950s, Lotus, Lola, Chevron and Mallock all started by building one-off specials as part of the 750 Motor Club-organized racing events. These lower formulae became the training ground for engineers to rise to the forthcoming UK challenge at the pinnacle of the sport, Grand Prix or Formula One.
Vanwall was the first British firm to win the Formula One World Championship for Constructors in 1958. They did so by the partial adoption of a process of sub-contracting production and collaboration between a network of small British-based specialists. In 1959 and 1960 it was the turn of Cooper to win the World Championship and, since then, just Ferrari has won the World Championship from a base entirely located outside the UK.
Cooper was significant not only for its production process but also its reliance upon income derived solely from selling racing cars and prize money from winning races. John Cooper led a set of racing entrepreneurs who took advantage of the falling costs of racing, consequent upon increased product specialization within a vertically disintegrated production network, to design and build their own cars. Ex-racers turned team owners and constructors in their own right included, for example, Lotus (1958), Tyrell (1960), Brabham (1962), McLaren (1963), Williams (1968), March (1970) and Surtees (1970). By the end of the 1960s, the UK had in place an industrial structure that subsequently supported the sustained development of a commercial motorsport industry, a business cluster now known as Motorsport Valley, that had attained a position of global dominance by the end of the 20th century.
In 1999, it was estimated that 75 percent of single-seat racing cars used in more than 80 countries across the world emanated from Motorsport Valley. In Formula One, 21 of the 36 (60 percent) significant constructors involved in the World Championship since 1950 had been UK-based. In that year, seven of the eleven F1 teams were based in the UK, as was the supply of a third of their engines and three WRC teams.
In 2000, analysis of the supply chain for the winning competition cars of F1, CART Champcar, F3000 and WRC found 39 percent of components supplied from within the UK. Over the decade from 1990 to 2000, the top 50 UK motorsport engineering firms had experienced an (unadjusted) average turnover in growth rate of some 523 percent.
Today, the global dominance of the UK’s Motorsport Valley is under threat and has diminished. Nevertheless, the UK motorsport industry remains the second largest in the world, with a turnover of £6 billion, comprises a half of the global costructors and continues to dominate the global supply chain. Motorsport Valley continues to sit at both the heart and the apex of a global industry financed by the OEMs and commercial sponsorship, with finance, sponsorship, drivers, engineers, parts and expertise drawn to the UK from across the world. UK specialist companies provide a growing array of worldclass motorsport services delivering expertise and service across the leisure, club and promoted segments of the sport and industry.”


I would like to read your opinions about these. What do you think? :smoking:



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#2 MCS

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 15:39

Well. what does it tell us that we weren't already aware of? Some of the statistics are interesting, assuming they are correct. But it's not really the complete picture, is it?

What does "the UK motorsport industry remains the second largest in the world, with a turnover of £6 billion" actually mean?


#3 kayemod

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 09:43

Nothin new here, and that 'Motorsport Valley' term is misleading. Access to Heathrow was always important of course, but a lot happened much further afield.

#4 PeterElleray

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 14:03

the confirmation that i have been working in an industry with a 'vertically disintegrating production system' explains a great deal about what's been going on these past 25 years...

peter

#5 Doug Nye

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 14:13

In several crucial details and general drift that allegedly analytical article is...not very good.

DCN

#6 jgm

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 14:38

Like the first British Grand Prix being held at Brooklands in 1926, not 1928.

#7 D-Type

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 15:09

The interesting question is "Why Britain?".

Italy, Germany, I think France and other countries produced Formula 3 cars. Germany had a tradition of special building - look at the number of BMW Eigenbau entries in the 1952-53 German GP's for example. Italy had an established group of specialists: chassis makers, body builders, race shops etc and numerous small volume manufacturers - Stanguellini, Gauer etc.

What Britain had was a lot of enthusiasts who wanted to race and alot of redundant airfields they could race on plus the new "park" circuits: Oulton Park, Cadwell Park and the revived Crystal Palace. So a whole club racing scene developed which created the demand for cars like Cooper, Lotus, Elva etc. And both drivers and manufacturers were able to ascend the ladder to the next levels.

France, and Italy did have a series of minor races mainly on street circuits but these didn't serve the grass roots as effectively as the British club racing did.

#8 RobertE

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 15:25

Not good, not useful and certainly not informative. If that was all a tyro had read about the history of UK motor sport development, he/she would be sadly misinformed.

It was always about people. Sometimes, I like to think that it still is.

#9 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 15:40

These days the motorsport industry is much more spread out. Here in Cumbria we have M Sport with the Ford WRC team and Paul Bird's Kawasaki bike team.
Which country does have the biggest motorsport industry by the way?

#10 D-Type

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 16:43

Not good, not useful and certainly not informative. If that was all a tyro had read about the history of UK motor sport development, he/she would be sadly misinformed.

It was always about people. Sometimes, I like to think that it still is.

Oh sorry! I was trying to broaden the discussion by asking a mildly provocative question, not trying to be informative giving definitive information.

Why do you think that the "motorsport industry" developed so much more strongly in Britain than in Italy, Germany or France?

#11 D82

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 18:00

I was reading Stefanie Gork Ruiz-Herrera's article titled “A short history of the UK Motorsport Industry” and I thought her analysis on the British motorsport industry was very interesting. :up:


I would like to read your opinions about these. What do you think? :smoking:

Can't you build your own sentences? :confused: :down:

Look at the first post:
http://forums.autosp...howtopic=114303

#12 MCS

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 22:56

Can't you build your own sentences? :confused: :down:

Look at the first post:
http://forums.autosp...howtopic=114303



I'm confused by this last post - was there another thread somewhere else initially?

In any case, I'm equally unsure of the numbers being bandied around. How has the figure of "£6 billion" actually been reached?

A lot of the motor sport industry in the UK is made up of private organisations. How can their - often undisclosed - contributions be accurately calculated?

And gven some of the individuals involved, I would suggest - respectfully of course - that reaching any figure is virtually, if not completely, impossible.