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The White Wire

Development and Investment news from the most effective Commercial Property Consultants along the London to Birmingham M40 motorway

Worldwide benchmark facility for aerodynamic testing and vehicle development opens along Motorsport Valley at Catesby Tunnel

16 February 2021

Catesby Tunnel testing facility in Northamptonshire is set to provide a worldwide benchmark for aerodynamic testing and vehicle development when it opens later this year.

The Catesby Scheme, comprising a new development and business hub for automotive and aerodynamic excellence is currently being built and offers a 2.7km long, purpose-built, straight road test track allowing an extensive range of vehicle assessment studies to be carried out on full scale vehicles, a new business park and new Catesby Innovation/office building. White Commercial Surveyors, well versed in the automotive technology sector will be advising and marketing the business park and offices within the innovation/office scheme in mid-2021.

The centre piece of the scheme is ‘The Tunnel’ capable of providing accurate and affordable full scale aerodynamic and performance data, being developed by Brackley-based Aero Research Partners.  The tunnel is set to become the new standard for vehicle development and the testing of aerodynamic performance, cooling, aeroacoustics, emission and dirt deposition. The sealed, underground working section ensures there is no wind and minimal temperature changes and therefore provides a controlled environment for assured repeatable testing. The ultra-smooth tarmac surface will be incredibly flat due to the stringent specifications.

All facilities are entirely enclosed to ensure that vehicle development programmes remain completely confidential. Enclosed working spaces have a shutter opening to the tunnel to ensure complete privacy while the main building adjoining the tunnel will house two full size articulated lorries to unload vehicles directly into the preparation area.

The new facility comprises the re-development of the Catesby Railway Tunnel which was once part of the Great Central Railway.  Built as a double width tunnel and one of the longest disused tunnels of the Victorian era, Catesby Tunnel’s long straight and constant gradient provides ideal testing conditions.

The disused railway tunnel is currently undergoing a multi-million-pound transformation into a state-of-the-art vehicle testing facility. Development began in December 2017 and the tunnel is currently in the final phase of construction, with a 400-metre road surface already laid out and initial testing completed. The remaining sections will be completed in the coming months ready for opening in Summer 2021.

Located in the Northamptonshire countryside, Catesby Tunnel is situated at the heart of the UK automotive and motorsport industry within the Motorsport Valley

Rob Lewis, Director at Aero Research Partners comments “We are all very excited to be opening the doors to Catesby Tunnel later this year. The tunnel’s infrastructure lends itself perfectly to providing an unrivalled vehicle testing facility where real cars can be tested on a real road in consistent conditions. It has been a huge collaborative effort and we hope to welcome customers from the UK, Europe and worldwide to take advantage of our unique facility.”

 Chris White Managing Director of White Commercial comments “The creation of this Worldwide Benchmark Facility adds further automotive infrastructure technology to a region already world renowned for its performance engineering and related expertise. The sites accommodation will provide quality space for both office and innovation requirements including the Catesby Innovation Centre – which can provide flexible office space and agreements for automotive related users and other self-contained buildings which are to be developed for automotive and aerospace occupiers.”

Further information on the Tunnel and the Scheme is available from Chris White at White Commercial and Aero Research Partners.


Chris White

Managing Director

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Harvey White

Commercial Property Advisor

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