SEPTEMBER 8, 2000
Jaguar's New Home
Ford has long recognised the need to establish a sizable base for its Formula 1 operation, including above all a wind tunnel to further hone its chassis as it attempts to be a top team in the future. Following the opening of a £75m purpose-built site for M-Sport to prepare Ford's World Rally Championship contenders at Dovenby, Cumbria a state-of-the-art Formula 1 facility has become a priority. So too has housing Cosworth Racing, whose current network of 12 buildings on an industrial estate in Northampton is outmoded, time consuming and presentationally below par.
The result - after assessing sites at the new Rockingham oval development as`well as Milton Keynes, Northampton and Gaydon in Warwickshire - is a development designed to host Ford's expanding ambitions and expanding workforce into the future. Currently this area of Silverstone's 800 acre site is used for car parking and by tenant race preparation firms in the small industrial units by the circuit's entrance The landscape and infrastructure of Silverstone appears on the verge of giant upheaval with the arrival of Ford co-inciding with the long-awaited building of a dual-carriageway bypass of Silverstone village with new, improved access roads to the circuit itself.
Main features of the Ford Racing Campus include a striking round glass visitors' centre that will also play host to a museum and archive. Beyond here however - and a suitably-placed moat - are the business buildings in which Jaguar takes presidence but is far from alone, with Cosworth's facility also catering for its American programmes, the World Rally Championship engines and has a dedicated area for servicing Minardi's needs. Jaguar's long-awaited wind tunnel is firmly in place and there is also provision for a Formula 3 team, although whether this will be Paul Stewart Racing or a specific works Ford programme is unclear at this time.