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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 January, 2004, 06:22 GMT
Silverstone's 4.2m technology race
Silverstone race track
Silverstone's new centre aims to boost the UK motorsport industry
A multi-million pound project is hoping to turn Northamptonshire into one of Europe's top motorsport development centres.

Work has already started on a 4.2m facility for the UK motorsport industry at Silverstone race track's technology park.

When it opens in October, the centre will house up to 40 engineering start-up companies, as well as more established businesses, all working in the motorsport industry.

The aim is to turn the centre into a cutting edge technology site where companies can find support and information.

Funding for the scheme has been put forward by the British Racing Drivers' Club, which owns the track, and the East Midlands Development Agency (emda).

Aiming for Europe

Derek Mapp, emda chairman, said: "This major initiative for the circuit aims to build on the sector's global reputation for innovation excellence and knowledge.

"It also aims to stem the industry's creeping loss of technology leadership from this country."

There are about 2,200 businesses working in the motorsport industry in the UK with an annual turnover of 4.6 billion.

Mr Mapp added the they were aiming for the centre to become a top 20 site for the industry in Europe by 2010.

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