Hampton promoted as US 'Motorsport Technology Capital'

The Hampton Motorsports Technology Alliance, a new partnership between public bodies and private companies, has been formed to establish the city of Hampton, VA, as the 'Motorsports Technology Capital of North America'. The initial partners are the city's Department of Economic Development, the Peninsula Alliance for Economic Development, NASA Langley Research Center and the Langley Full Scale Tunnel. The HMTA will promote the region's expertise and technology assets to the motorsport and high-performance automotive industries

Hampton promoted as US 'Motorsport Technology Capital'

According to market analysis results of the Frost Motorsports Impact Study, Hampton has technology capabilities that would make it a 'one-stop location' for engineering, technology and testing applicable to the motorsport industry. The study concludes that there is no other location in the world that would offer this total concentration of resources, and recommends the addition of a test/race track facility and a specialized R&D park targeting the industry.

"Hampton feels that it can successfully tap into the growing performance engineering market, which is estimated at $5bn and is increasing rapidly," said Ray White, the director of Hampton Economic Development. Trends indicate that the US motorsport market is showing the fastest growth and is forecasted to increase by 60 percent within the next five years.

"Besides the metropolitan areas off Charlotte, NC, and Indianapolis, IN, there is no other area in North America that has a strong cluster of companies and resources that meet the overall needs of the high-performance automotive industry," said Timothy Frost of Frost Motorsports. "Knowledge generation, knowledge intensive firms, innovation, technology transfer, diversification and specialization are central to the motorsport industry."

In the Frost study, the Langley Full Scale Tunnel (LFST) is identified as the primary indicator that could enable this commercial venture to come to fruition. Managed by Old Dominion University's College of Engineering & Technology, the tunnel has been attracting NASCAR and other racing teams at record-breaking numbers for aerodynamic testing, starting around the mid-1990s. As a commercial testing facility, the tunnel offers reasonable pricing structure, excellent data correlation, large test sections and a central East Coast location. Open-wheel cars, NASCAR trucks and dragsters have also tested at the tunnel. By tapping into the motorsport industry, the LFST has been able to generate surplus revenue and operate in the black while achieving its goal to reopen an important technology asset and provide 'real-world' learning experiences for Old Dominion University graduate students.

Building on the synergy between aerospace and motorsport, NASA Langley Research Center, a world-class research facility, offers technology easily adaptable to the high-performance automotive industry. Currently, NASA is developing a coating and 'soft wall' product that could significantly address safety concerns for aircraft and racecars. The products of NASA have been widely applied to the design and manufacture of automobiles, ships, submarines and spacecraft.

Hampton wants to promote the potential economic savings of having $4bn in hard assets and technology transfer opportunities in one location to the motorsport industry. Interested companies would join an established automotive base in the Hampton and the surrounding region consisting of Ford Motor Company, Siemens Automotive, Valeo, Schaevitz Sensors, Orbital Engine Corporation, ITW Southland and numerous other companies. In the USA, there are approximately 24,000 businesses and 120,000 employees currently working in the industry. Per capita, Hampton and the region boasts the highest concentration of scientists, engineers and technicians, second only to the Silicon Valley. Racing teams and motorsport-related companies can tap into a labor pool that is prepared for the task at hand.

There are already 1372 circuits in the USA, consisting 75 percent of oval tracks, 21 percent drag strips and 4.4 percent road courses. Time in a car helps driver confidence and highlights areas such as durability, which are impossible or expensive to reproduce. None offer the unique combination and potential of Hampton's concentration of resources such as technological assets, labor force, central location and college/university systems -- a test/race track would provide the ultimate total package.

No dividend from Fiat in 2003

Previous article

No dividend from Fiat in 2003

Next article

Morgan switches focus to Spa 24 Hours

Morgan switches focus to Spa 24 Hours
Load comments
The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under Plus

The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under

Joey Mawson made waves in the middle of the last decade, beating future Haas Formula 1 driver Mick Schumacher - among other highly-rated talents - to the 2016 German F4 title. A run in F1's feeder GP3 category only caused his career to stall, but now back in Australia Mawson's S5000 title success has set that to rights

May 8, 2021
The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing Plus

The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing

OPINION: The greed-driven push for a European Super League that threatened to tear football apart is collapsing at the seams. Motor racing's equivalent, the football-themed Superleague Formula series of 2008-11, was everything that the proposed ESL never could be

Apr 21, 2021
The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan Plus

The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan

Having had the door to F1 slammed in his face and come within three laps of winning the Indianapolis 500, the collapse of a Peugeot LMP1 shot meant Japan was Bertrand Baguette's last chance of a career. But it's one which he has grasped with both hands

Feb 27, 2021
The female all-rounder who arrived "too early" Plus

The female all-rounder who arrived "too early"

From Formula 3 to truck racing, Dakar and EuroNASCAR via a winning stint in the DTM, there's not much Ellen Lohr hasn't seen in a stellar racing career that highlights the merit in being a generalist. But she believes her career came too early...

Feb 17, 2021
How Radical's latest machines fare on track Plus

How Radical's latest machines fare on track

The lightweight sportscar manufacturer has not rewritten the rulebook with its latest machines, but the new SR3 XX and SR10 still provide a step forward on its previous successful models

Feb 8, 2021
The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction Plus

The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction

The forthcoming Netflix film linking the world of underworld crime and motorsport plays on a theme that isn't exactly new. Over the years, several shady figures have attempted to make it in racing before their dubious dealings caught up with them

Jan 31, 2021
How a GP is thriving in a COVID-free territory Plus

How a GP is thriving in a COVID-free territory

The New Zealand Grand Prix's mix of rising talent and big-name stars thrilled the crowds (yes, remember crowds?) assembled for the Toyota Racing Series meeting at Hampton Downs last weekend and left distant observers craving a repeat

Jan 26, 2021
How a much-changed Macau GP kept the party going Plus

How a much-changed Macau GP kept the party going

OPINION: The 67th edition of the Macau Grand Prix might have been a largely muted affair to the outside world without its international influx and star line-ups, another victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organisers deserve huge credit for keeping the party going

Nov 24, 2020