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Aston Martin is opening a Silverstone skunkworks
Ferrari has Fiorano. Lotus has Hethel – and some local dual-carriageways. But Aston Martin has been without a high-speed test home for a while, since it broke away from fellow Ford-owned Jaguar and the Gaydon test facility.
Well, that’s all set to change, as Aston Martin’s rampant expansion and pursuit of the likes of Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini continues. Today, the company has announced it’s creating a test base at Silverstone circuit, the home of the British grand prix, and one of British motorsport’s most hallowed locations.
Matt Becker, the ex-Lotus brain (and backside) who sets up the latest crop of Astons, said: “Every true performance car company needs a reference circuit and I can think of none more suitable than Silverstone. It is the perfect location to develop the next-generation of Aston Martins.”
Aston says it’ll use its Silverstone Test and Development Centre as “a new hub for prototype vehicle testing, focused on chassis dynamics and high-speed handling”. You’ll recall that it’s currently in cohorts with Red Bull Racing’s Adrian Newey to build the Valkyrie hypercar – promising F1-spec lap times in a street-legal car. What a convenient time to set up shop at an F1 circuit…
Aston’s footprint across the UK is growing ever-larger. The St Athan factory in Wales is on schedule to start production of a new SUV in late 2019, and Aston’s also confirmed today that it’s secured new offices in central London. That brings the total of Aston locations across the kingdom to ten, and by the end of 2022 the company will employ around 5,000 people. We’ll be paying close attention to what they can come up with…