WRC team M-Sport factory plan gets green light

M-Sport's £19million plans to develop a major new test and development facility in Britain have been given the go-ahead by local council in Cumbria

WRC team M-Sport factory plan gets green light

The council voted 10-1 in favour of M-Sport developing a 108,000 square metre Evaluation Centre alongside a test track and hotel.

Malcolm Wilson, managing director of the Cockermouth firm, said he anticipated work starting within the next month, with the aim of cutting the tape in the middle of the 2016 season.

"Obviously we're delighted with the news," Wilson told AUTOSPORT.

"We want to get started straight away on the work. There are still some hoops to jump through, but we are more than willing and able to do that.

"It was a big moment when we originally bought Dovenby, but this is a much bigger commitment and investment than even that was.

"It's very exciting, but, I have to say, it is putting a fair bit of pressure on me as well!"

Wilson said the new development would not impact on M-Sport's ongoing work with Bentley's endurance programme or in the World Rally Championship.

"One of the important things for us is that the development work won't impact on the current programmes at all," said the 1994 British Rally champion.

"All the construction traffic and work will come through a different entrance and, until the Evaluation Centre is completed, everything stays where it is."

Wilson added that there would be significant benefits from the improved facility.

"I think everybody can see the benefit here," he said.

"In terms of local employment and wealth generation, there will be undoubted knock-on effects and for motorsport or road car development work, we will be completely enclosed, completely private.

"What we will have here is unrivalled facilities and a one-stop shop for a manufacturer to come and build ground-up a new product or refine an existing one.

"We know what we can offer a manufacturer already and with the new site, it's even more exciting."

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