World’s longest indoor vehicle testing facility Catesby Tunnel opens

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Catesby Projects has officially launched Catesby Tunnel in Northamptonshire, UK. A special opening ceremony for the state-of-the-art automotive testing facility was attended by F1 legend Mike Costin, who founded Cosworth Engineering in 1958, and Peter Wright, who developed the ground effect theory while working for Lotus. A classic Lotus 79 F1 car was driven through the tunnel to mark the launch.

Rob Lewis, managing director at TotalSim Group, one of the two main partners of the development, said, “The Lotus 79 was the perfect car for this event. It was the foundation for ground effect vehicles and so important to the history of F1. To have Peter and Mike here also, is the icing on the cake. It would have been easy to choose a modern car for the launch, but the historic nature of the Lotus ties in nicely with the history of the Catesby Tunnel and its new life as a test facility.”

During the event, Lewis gave a presentation, along with various individuals who were crucial to the completion of the tunnel works, at the newly completed Catesby Innovation Centre situated on Catesby Park. This hub complements the tunnel and houses office space and business facilities for tech companies to rent.

Catesby Projects’ group leader, Jon Paton, commented, “We are really proud to see the tunnel open and ready for customers. To have automotive and motorsport customers start to use the tunnel and to find out for themselves what makes Catesby so powerful is really exciting.”

At the opening, Cllr Jonathan Nunn from West Northamptonshire Council said, “It’s [Catesby Tunnel] something for us [Northamptonshire] to be really, really proud of. This operates on the world stage in terms of transport technology.

Added Wright, “This is a top of the range facility for doing aerodynamic research.”

According to Catesby Projects, some of the largest automotive companies and motorsport teams from across the globe have enquired about testing at the site, which was formerly an abandoned Victorian railway tunnel. Find out more about how the research facility was brought to life in the June 2021 issue of ATTI.

Catesby Tunnel is 2,740m in length, 8.2m in width, has a constant gradient of 1:176 and a working section of 40m²

Catesby Tunnel is 2,740m in length, 8.2m in width, has a constant gradient of 1:176 and a working section of 40m²

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Rachel's career in journalism has seen her write for various titles at UKi Media & Events within automotive, tire and marine. Currently editor of ATTI, her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the groundbreaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of transportation.

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