£1.3m boost for cutting-edge M-Sport Evaluation Centre

14 August 2019

Global motorsport business, M-Sport, has received a £1.3M investment from Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) via the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to develop a state-of-the-art Evaluation Centre at its Dovenby Hall Estate base, near Cockermouth.

The multi-million-pound development will be the only one of its type in the UK and will see M-Sport create over 100 additional new high-value jobs once operational. In addition to the 2.5km testing track facility completed in 2017, the overall investment impact in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA) to Cumbria is estimated at £24.4m by December 2025.

The new 10,723m2 technical facility will enable M-Sport to move into the wider automotive sector and attract mainstream motor manufacturers seeking a cutting-edge facility to design and test new technology.

M-Sport’s plans for the aspiring centre of excellence include expanding its motor-sport design, as well as development in areas such as electric and battery car technologies and composite parts production – providing the company with the ability to test and build cars of the future.

CLEP’s investment in the project ensures that 977m2 of space within the Centre will be available for hire by third parties for exclusive use in research and development, plus 960m2 of space will be available for hire on a ‘shared use’ basis alongside M-Sport’s own activities. This will enable Cumbria to plays its part in developing innovation assets in the Northern Powerhouse region that can contribute to the Grand Challenge set out the UK Industrial Strategy to ‘become a world leader in shaping the future of mobility’.

Within the total building construction cost of £14.77m, the cost associated with delivery of research and development space available to hire for third party use is £2.83m, to which CLEP has contributed £1.3m through the Growth Deal.

Jim Jackson, Chair of the Investment Panel at CLEP, said:

“Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership is delighted to commit £1.3M of Growth Deal funding to support this project.

“It is particularly pleasing that this contribution will help M-Sport take advantage of new opportunities such as renewable energy, and create over 100 new jobs, whilst allowing mainstream motor manufacturers and automotive leaders to utilise the high-tech site and follow projects from concept to completion.

“This investment is another step forward in the Growth Deal programme which aims to boost Cumbria’s economy and help our businesses to grow and prosper.”

Malcolm Wilson OBE, Managing Director at M-Sport, said:

“It’s always been important for me to keep the business in Cumbria, and with the help of Cumbria LEP we’re seeing the growth of more and more businesses in our region.

“The M-Sport Evaluation Centre will provide a unique centre of engineering excellence – allowing world leaders in automotive technology to follow their concepts from design and development, right through to production.

“Our region is fast becoming a great place for business, and we’re proud to be a part of that.”

Minister of State for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth Rt Hon Jake Berry MP, said:

“We’re committed to supporting economic growth across the whole of the Northern Powerhouse and levelling up our regions.

“I’m delighted that this £1.3 million investment from the Government’s Local Growth Fund has supported M Sport’s exciting expansion plans and the development of their cutting-edge Evaluation Centre.

“Not only will this create local jobs but it will help drive further investment in Cumbria, bringing motorsport and engineering excellence to this vital region within the Northern Powerhouse.”


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