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Prodrive Test Facility (Kenilworth, Warwickshire)

An image of Prodrive Test Facility (Kenilworth, Warwickshire)

Warwickshire is a county more commonly associated with horses and the racing of them. Yet nestling 6 miles south of Coventry is the pretty town of Kenilworth. It has a medieval castle, a very engaging town clock and it was in fact the place where England’s first ever potato was planted.

The town has another interesting secret though; an open one in motoring circles but for reasons that will become apparent, a secret nevertheless. It is its' motor racing circuit, you see not too many people know that it has one… and a pretty sophisticated one at that. It was built on the former site of RAF Honiley, which was closed as an air base in 1958 and it is tantalising to note that its runway has let’s say… been appropriately utilised.

In fact this perhaps gives a taste of where we are going with this, but it really isn’t possible to tell you about the Kenilworth circuit without first mentioning an organisation called Prodrive… since it was they who designed and built it.

You may not have heard of this institute (and be in no doubt - taking over the world revered Tickford company in 2001 makes them nothing less than an institute), despite the fact that it also bases itself in Australia and India, but you may well have witnessed the products of its endeavour.

You see when you are one of the world’s largest vehicle and motorsport technologists who, not content with creating bespoke racing versions of the world’s most famous marques…. and seemingly unfulfilled by merely developing breakthrough automotive technologies and who can speak modestly about rally victories with (to name but a few) BMW, Aston Martin, Ford, Subaru, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari… then it becomes clear that you couldn’t possibly have achieved at these stratospheric levels without doing a pretty serious line or two in track, laboratory and testing facilities.

Track

Which brings us neatly back to Kenilworth, a track that was purpose built by the tour de force that is Prodrive to test its project and development cars to the limit.

Glib though that statement may sound, it truly is impossible to overstate the significance of it when you consider that… purely from the perspective of achievements, landmark designs, motorsport successes and racing legends… ‘the limit’ we are talking about here is a truly staggering abstraction. The cars, the conversions, the sporting achievements and the drivers are testament enough to this.

But then there’s the shape of the track… rather reminiscent of one of those rubber toys your dog likes to pull on… yet over its 1.8 miles it manages to squeeze in 12 corners and bends and enough fast straights to thoroughly test every area of a car’s capability.

Or what of the multi surface rally stage which is exactly the kind of proving ground you would expect from the people who took Colin McCrae and Subaru to world renowned success.

Naturally you can expect appropriate 4x4 facilities, run-off lanes and of course a skid pan.

Course by Prodrive… machines by Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Audi, Porche, and Subaru… so what is your limit?

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