Prime Minister David Cameron has officially opened Williams’ new Advanced Engineering facility today in Grove, Oxfordshire. The Prime Minister was joined at the launch by Williams Team Principal Sir Frank Williams, Group CEO Mike O’Driscoll and WAE Managing Director, Craig Wilson.
A dedicated 3,800m sq. building located on the same site as the WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING Formula One team, the new Advanced Engineering facility is the result of £8m of investment by Williams over the last two years. The facility is a state-of-the-art R&D site that features a ground floor workshop with Formula One inspired build bays that can be used for one-off projects or low-volume production. The facility will accommodate up to 250 design engineers and also features a number of confidential rooms where projects can be worked on in complete secrecy – vital given the nature of WAE’s client base.
The aim of WAE is simple: 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.
Although today marks the opening of the new WAE building, the business has been operating since 2011. Its first project was the Jaguar C-X75, one of the most sophisticated hybrid supercars ever made. The company is also 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 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 WAE’s new facility the Prime Minister David 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, Group CEO of Williams, added: “We are honoured to have the Prime Minister here today to join us at the start of an extremely exciting time for WAE. 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 WAE 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. ”