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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
Car firm with a Grand Prix past
Connaught made a series of Grand Prix cars in the 1950s
Connaught was synonymous with Grand Prix racing in the 1950s
Connaught - the car company that will base its new headquarters in Wales - is a name with a proud Grand Prix past.

Its 12m investment in Llanelli will produce its new "greener" sports car, that will create 200 skilled jobs.

The Syracuse Grand Prix win in Italy in 1955 was the first Formula One race success by a British driver in a British car in the post war era.

Not long after it disappeared from scene but after a 40-year-gap the brand was revived in 2002.

Connaught has already developed and launched two prototype vehicles.

The company plans to start producing up to 2,000 of the Type D Connaughts a year for the European market, from November 2007.

Connaught Type-D H
The firm claims a first for its lower carbon sports technology

The lightweight four-seater coupe will cost 65,000.

These will now be hand built at its global manufacturing and research and development headquarters to be based at Llanelli Gate.

Connaught chose the area because it already has links with local suppliers, including Calsonic.

"When you look around at the skill set in the area, that was one of the key factors," said chief executive Tony Martindale.

"But also automotive suppliers in the area are clearly very strong."

They will be the first production cars to be made entirely in Wales since the Gilbern GT, produced at the former Red Ash Colliery in Llantwit Fardre during the 1960s.

Connaught Type-D Sycacuse
The limited edition Syracuse will be made at a temporary local base

Initially the company plans to build its limited edition Type D GT Syracuse at a temporary base in the area with the first vehicle due off the production line towards the end of 2008.

When its purpose built technical centre is completed in 2009 it will be followed by a hybrid version - the Type-D V10 - which aims to provide 20% fewer carbon emissions.

"It's real green credentials for a sports car," said Mr Martindale, who claims it will the world's first high performance hybrid sports coupe.

The company is linking up with the Swansea Institute to research and develop the carbon reduction technology.

They will use a V10 petrol-electric engine capable of reaching 60mph in 6.2 seconds and with a top speed of 150mph.

Its plan is to build 100 cars in the first year, 250 in the second year, rising to 1,000 in year five for the UK and European markets.

Initially it will recruit 30 engineers and scale up as production takes off. Recruitment will range from skilled manufacturing jobs to PHD students for research.




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The new sportscar to be built in Wales



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