Jaguar Racing revealed at the United States Grand Prix that it will shortly have access to its own windtunnel facility, having acquired a former Ministry of Defence unit in England.

The DERA windtunnel in Bedford, not far from the team's Milton Keynes base, was formerly used for aircraft development, and will be upgraded over an 18-month period to meet the latest specifications for a model scale windtunnel that can make a significant contribution towards the team's 2006 challenger - the Jaguar R7. The team's half-scale windtunnel in Bicester, which was opened in the spring of 2002, will continue to function alongside the new facility.

"Under the leadership of Tony Purnell and David Pitchforth, and integrated support from Cosworth Racing and Pi Research, Jaguar Racing has made clear progress this season and this investment we are making will help cement progress further up the grid," commented the head of Ford's F1 operations, Richard Parry-Jones, "This latest investment will take Jaguar Racing's engineering and aerodynamic capabilities to the next level."

Jaguar has acquired a 123-year lease of the DERA windtunnel, which was originally constructed in 1954 to test the aerodynamics of missiles and military aircraft. The tunnel is located on a site of 15,000 square metres, forming part of what was a much larger MOD estate near Bedford, 30 minutes drive from Milton Keynes. The windtunnel itself covers some 1600 square metres, and comes complete with an attached four-storey office and workshop.

"Once upgraded to the latest specification, the DERA windtunnel will be used primarily for model scale work, while our plans to utilise a third full-scale windtunnel will be announced in the not too distant future," said team MD David Pitchforth.