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Prodrive makes a £5 million investment in dedicated Powertrain Development Centre to support engine design, build and testing for race and rally programmes

30 September 2019

Prodrive has made a £5 million investment in a dedicated Powertrain Development Centre (PDC) located at its Banbury headquarters that supports engine design, build and testing for race and rally programmes, reaffirming its commitment to providing the highest level of technical support to the global motorsport industry.

Core to the new Powertrain Development Centre is a 660 kW transient dyno, one of the most powerful of its kind in the UK, which with temperature, humidity and pressure-controlled induction air can replicate most running conditions, while also providing powerful cooling for engines and systems. The ability to simulate near exact running conditions and replicate in vehicle transient operating cycles means the dyno is particularly suited to durability and performance testing, as well as development.

Able to handle engine outputs of up to 880 hp, the dyno is located on an easily-adjustable, modular grid system. This ensures that Prodrive can efficiently tailor it to the layout of any powertrain including the ability to test four-wheel drive electric/hybrid drivetrains.

Complementing the transient dyno cell is a dedicated engine build room, fitted out by Dura, which can accommodate the assembly of up to 12 units. This capability, coupled with the PDC being adjacent to the main workshop, enhances Prodrive’s ability to build complete vehicles and cater for projects, such as the support of a race series, which can require as many as 200-300 units in short timeframes.

Should demand dictate, there is scope to double the size of the PDC. Prodrive has future-proofed the facility with the potential to add another identical dyno and engine build room, all without extending the existing building.

The creation of the PDC has been supported by OxLEP (Oxford Local Enterprise Partnership) via the government’s Local Growth Fund. The official backing recognises the relationship that Prodrive has established with the local community, being one of the region’s largest and most high-profile employers. The launch of the PDC is expected to support 25 jobs in the area.

Arthur Shaw, Prodrive's chief powertrain engineer

Arthur Shaw, chief powertrain engineer at Prodrive, said: “The PDC marks a massive step forward in terms of our engine development capability and complements our existing skills in the design and development of all types of powertrain. The high specification of our new dyno means we are in an even stronger position to develop and calibrate e-powertrain units, allowing our customers to enjoy potential savings in terms of cost and time in comparison to physical testing on the road or track. Additionally, with the new facility bringing the differing stages of our powertrain development all under one roof – spanning the build of the engine right through to its installation in a chassis – there are further efficiency benefits that can be passed on to customers.

“It’s one of the biggest investments that Prodrive has ever made, but with our motorsport operations continuing to grow at a pace and the expansion of our Prodrive Works scheme to restore heritage vehicles, now is the optimum time for us to introduce our Powertrain Development Centre,” he continued. “The significant expenditure underlines how committed we are to developing powertrains and enhancing our service, enabling us to offer clients one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the UK.”

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