Motorsport has long been regarded as an effective test-bed for the automotive industry, largely because the speed of development at the highest level of the sport is, by necessity, significantly faster than it is in normal industry.
The nature of motor sport has led to the development of thousands of high-performance engineering and technology companies within the UK, and many of these companies have utilised the skills and expertise gained in the sporting context to service the needs of other sectors, such as defence, aerospace, transport and health industries.
Technologies developed in the world of Formula 1, such as Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS), are now benefitting the wider transport industry. When developing its KERS in 2008, the Williams F1 team established Williams Hybrid Power to pursue a flywheel solution, with a belief in the technology’s wider applications. The company has subsequently adapted its system for use in buses, trams, trains and construction vehicles, as well as cars.
Similarly the McLaren Group includes McLaren Applied Technologies, which aims to develop ground-breaking solutions across sport, medicine, biomechanics and entertainment. For example MAT has worked on equipment for other sports such as cycling, rowing, canoeing, sailing, bobsleigh and skeleton. McLaren Electronics software is used in the intensive care ward of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and MAT also has a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline to monitor patients on clinical trials.