Honda's confirmation that it will be basing its European racing operations in Milton Keynes at a new facility within the new R&D centre of Mugen Euro has been hailed as an endorsement of the recently-launched UK Automotive Strategy by the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA).
“This is marvellous news for the UK motorsport industry, which could not have come at a more appropriate time," said MIA CEO Chris Aylett, following last week's announcement. (See separate story
"This decision by Honda to invest in the heartland of the UK Motorsport Valley community is extremely significant," added Aylett "It is a strong vote of confidence from this much respected leader in the global motorsport community for the strength of the UK supply chain in motorsport engineering."
Honda's decision to base its return to F1 with McLaren commending with the 2015 season follows the launch of the UK Automotive Strategy and the announcement of plans for joint UK Government and industry investment of £1 billion in an Advanced Propulsion Centre.
Business Secretary Vince Cable made that announcement at Goodwood, and he was also on hand to celebrate the news about Honda's new base of racing operations.
“We very much welcome Honda's announcement, which follows hard on the heels of the launch of the automotive industrial strategy," said Cable. "The strategy underlines the Government's commitment to work with world-class companies and organisations, including those in motorsport.
"The decision by Honda emphasises the importance of the UK's Motorsport Valley as a world renowned centre of excellence for technological innovation and product development," he added.
The new Milton Keynes facility will be the European frontline operation for Honda's F1 trackside support operations, and also for its World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) activity which includes rebuilding and maintaining the power units being developed at Honda R&D centre in Tochigi, Japan.
“The move will see UK engineers employed, investment in premises and operations and valuable new business growth for UK suppliers," explained Aylett "The UK automotive strategy, created from input from MIA members and the wider industry, is on the right path and is sure to attract more investment and jobs to the UK in 'advanced propulsion' activity."