Saturday, 12 July 2014
Williams’ ‘new’ tech centre and Jaguar C-X75
UK Prime Minister David Cameron officially opened Williams’ new Advanced Engineering facility on 11 July in Grove, Oxfordshire.
The business has been operating since 2011. Its first project was the Jaguar C-X75, one of the most sophisticated hybrid supercars made.
The dedicated 3,800 square metre building, on the same site as the Williams Martini Racing Formula One team, is the result of £8m of investment by Williams over the last two years.
The facility is a state-of-the-art site R&D site that features ground-floor workshop with Formula One-inspired bays for use with one-off projects or low-volume production.
Williams Advanced Engineering’s first project was Jaguar’s C-X75, one of the most sophisticated hybrid supercars that never made progress. Jaguar Land Rover (see item below) axed C-X75 in December 2012. Of C-X75, Jaguar design supremo Ian Cullum said: “We really should be building it, shouldn’t we? I guess I’m probably not meant to say that.”
Williams is collaborating with Nissan on its high performance NISMO products, and is the sole supplier of the batteries that will power the cars competing in Formula E, the world’s first fully electric racing series
The ‘new’ centre can accommodate up to 250 design engineers and features a number of confidential rooms where projects can be worked on in complete secrecy – vital given the nature of Williams Advanced Engineering’s client base.
Williams Advanced Engineering aims to use the technology, know-how and rapid development skills honed in Formula One to deliver cutting edge technology solutions to the automotive, motorsport, transport and energy sectors.
The company specialises in delivering energy efficient performance for its clients and does this in four key areas: hybrid power systems and electronics, dynamics, advanced lightweight materials and cutting edge aerodynamics.
This expertise in energy efficient technologies first began with the hybridisation of Formula One cars in 2009, with Williams becoming the only team to develop its hybrid technologies entirely in house.
The company is expanding its operations into the energy sector and is currently working on a project to install Formula One-derived flywheel energy storage technology on energy grids in the Scottish highlands in a project backed by the government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change.
Speaking at the launch of the new facility Cameron said: “Formula One is a world beating, hi-tech industry and I am very proud that Britain and British engineers and designers play such a key role within it. Williams opening their Advanced Engineering facility in Oxfordshire is great news for the local area and a vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan to back business, create jobs and secure a better future for Britain.”
Mike O’Driscoll, Williams group chief executive officer, added: “We are honoured to have the Prime Minister join us at the start of an extremely exciting time for Williams Advanced Engineering. This new state-of-the-art building gives our talented and diverse skills base a home and provides capacity for 250 designers, engineers and technicians. Williams’ diversification programme has achieved much over the past few years and from here I expect Williams Advanced Engineering to make rapid progress. Improving energy efficiency is an important global concern and we are confident that Williams has the unique know-how and resources to play an important role in tackling this issue.”
Prime Minister was joined also at the launch by Williams Team Principal Sir Frank Williams, and Williams Advanced Engineering managing director, Craig Wilson.