OCTOBER 18, 1999
Ford's motor racing campus
THE Ford Motor Company is close to a deal to acquire land on which it will build its planned motor racing campus - and despite a variety of rumors it seems that it will be at the Gateway Park industrial estate, just outside Northampton. This is just a few miles from Silverstone and is easily accessible for Cosworth staff, Stewart employees and the Jaguar headquarters in Coventry. It is also situated alongside the M1 motorway - the major north-south road in Britain, which provides easy access to London and the north of England.
The intention is for the facility to house the Jaguar Formula 1 team, the Ford World Rally Championship operation and probably other teams in sportscar and touring car racing. There is also likely to be a research and development center, featuring a big windtunnel. The negotiations to acquire the site are still going on and once completed it will probably be a year before the facilities are ready for the existing teams to move in. In the meantime we have heard stories suggesting that there are more than one group of people trying to put together packages of teams to offer to Ford before Ford sets up its own operations. This would obviously be a good way of keeping down the set-up costs of such teams. David Richards is believed to be working on such a strategy but we also hear that there is an American group doing much the same. Whether they will be successful remains to be seen.
Ford needs to move quickly because the new Jaguar team wants to start work on a windtunnel as soon as possible as the existing program at the Swift windtunnel in San Clemente, California, is not the perfect arrangement as Swift needs access to the tunnel for its programs.
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