Aston Martin is opening a new test and development centre at Silverstone, as momentum builds further in the company’s ‘Second Century’ business plan for new cars.
The Silverstone Test Centre will augment the firm’s high-speed test centre at the Nürburgring in Germany, and will at last give the Gaydon-based company a dedicated UK testing facility once again.
Under Ford ownership, Aston was able to share access to the test track next to its HQ, but the growth of Jaguar Land Rover in recent years means the British brands have effectively usurped Aston from the circuit next door.
Silverstone, just a few miles down the road, is the perfect substitute.
Aston’s chief of vehicle attribute Matt Becker said: “Every company needs a reference circuit and I can think of none more suitable than Silverstone. It is the perfect location to develop the next generation of Aston Martins.”
Aston president and CEO Dr Andy Palmer said he was “pleased that we can now call Silverstone home for dynamic testing and development”.
Stuart Pringle is managing director of Silverstone: “Automotive brand centres have always been a big part of Silverstone’s diversification plans,” he explained, “and I am delighted to be in a position to announce that Aston Martin have chosen Silverstone as the location to open their new testing and development centre.
“Our two brands have such a rich British motorsport heritage and I look forward to working closely with the team at Aston Martin to build on our relationship and ensure the partnership helps deliver on key business objectives for both parties.”
Aston Martin will carry out prototype vehicle testing at Silverstone, with a focus on chassis dynamics and high-speed handling. The circuit is known as one of the fastest and most challenging on the F1 circuit (and one of the most well-loved by drivers), so should provide the perfect playground test centre for Aston’s development drivers.
‘A leading UK automotive employer’
The firm also announced plans to create a new Central London office, which it will use for meetings and events with customers and investors. The new site will complement its brand centre at London’s posh Dover Street.
Aston Martin’s total UK workforce should reach 5,000 by 2022, added Dr Palmer. “The company is now investing for growth across the Aston Martin and Lagonda brands.
“Aston Martin will soon become one of the leading automotive employers in the UK. We are currently one of the largest automotive recruiters in the UK, investing approximately 10 percent of the total automotive investments in the UK, creating exciting new opportunities across engineering, design, manufacturing and commercial operations.”
Aston Martin Lagonda’s 10 UK sites
- Chase Point: Purchasing, body-in-white assembly
- Gaydon: Global HQ, design studio, sports car manufacturing, commercial operations, research and development
- London (Dover Street): Brand centre, event space
- London (Soho Square): Commercial operations, event space
- Milton Keynes: Aston Martin Red Bull Racing joint projects, design studio, commercial operations
- Newport Pagnell: Aston Martin Works, continuation series manufacturing
- Silverstone: Testing and development
- St Athan: Large platform vehicle manufacturing, research and development
- Wellesbourne: Special Vehicle Operations, prototype development
- Wolverton Mill: Parts distribution