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    NAA Event Review: Networking Meeting, Ginetta Cars, Leeds, 10 March 2016

    The NAA offers its members ‘money can’t buy’ opportunities, including events such as a fascinating recent visit to Ginetta in Yorkshire, a company that is making big progress in helping more people into motorsport…

    NAA visitors were treated to a tour of Ginetta’s factory and a presentation by Technical Director Ewan Baldry (see this month’s ‘In The Driving Seat’ feature). Petrol heads and non-petrol heads alike were hugely impressed by the scale of Ginetta’s facility and the success of the company.

    Ginetta was first established in 1958, but the current growth phase started when Lawrence Tomlinson bought the company in 2005. Lawrence was a business entrepreneur who owned care homes, but he also raced cars, including Ginettas. He liked the company so much that he bought it.

    Ginetta makes 120 cars each year at its 75,000 sq. ft. factory. The majority of these are racing cars, but around 35 are road-going variants – and there are plans to develop more road cars and a high-end supercar in the future.

    Ginetta’s ‘big thing’ is to bring new people to motorsport by making racing accessible and affordable. To this end Ginetta has its own one-make series, and its own programme to help people enter into racing, taking people who are new to the sport through the whole process. This includes getting a race licence, tuition and four race meetings per year at some of the UK’s top race circuits. There’s an average of 30 people on the grid of each race, and the company is developing its international presence.

    Ginetta helps 40-50 people to gain a racing licence each year, and has helped around 400 people to achieve this in total. Many of these drivers have progressed to professional level.

    There’s even a Ginetta Junior Series which enables 14-year olds to race, and the grid has 25-30 cars each year.

    The 1.8-litre, 4-cylinder Ginetta G40 is the ‘entry-level’ car; drivers can then progress up the racing ladder to the Ginetta G55 which features a 3.7-litre V6 engine and is the biggest-selling GT4 car worldwide. There’s also a G55 GT3 with a 4.35-litre Ginetta Racing V8, and there’s now a Ginetta G57, with a Chevrolet-sourced LS3 6.3-litre V8 engine, which is described as ‘the ultimate track day machine’.

    Ginetta doesn’t just sell cars – it also offers support at race tracks. There are around 250 cars racing each weekend, and the company has four trucks loaded with spare parts to help keep the cars going.

    Ginetta is passionate about designing and making things, and aims to manufacture as many products as possible in-house.

    The NAA event at Ginetta also featured a presentation from Simon Malins about the automotive sector in the Yorkshire and Humber region. Simon works for the University of Huddersfield and his role is to link the university and industry together.

    Simon provided an update on a project to survey automotive companies in the Yorkshire and Humber region. There are believed to be around 135 companies in the region that are involved in the automotive sector. Ginetta is an excellent example of the innovation that is evident in the region’s industry. There are also a number of Tier 1s, including Cummins and Borg Warner in the turbocharger market.

    Carol rounded up the event by stating that the combination of the automotive industry in the North West and in Yorkshire and Humber – ie. the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ area – results in a critical mass to rival that of the West Midlands, and provides an opportunity to collaborate and grow.

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham