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New aerodynamic research facility set to attract global interest

11 November 2021

A car with headlights on driving through the Catesby tunnel

A Government minister visited a new multi-million pound vehicle test track being built inside a Victorian railway tunnel in West Northamptonshire.

Minister for Business and Industry Lee Rowley was at the Catesby Aerodynamic Research Facility to see the progress on this unique project as it nears completion.

The facility, near the village of Charwelton, is a previously disused Victorian railway tunnel which has been transformed into a unique indoor world class aerodynamic vehicle testing centre.

The almost 3km-long and perfectly straight tunnel is more accurate and efficient than a wind tunnel and will give the UK a unique proposition in automotive and race car development, which is attracting global interest.

The project has been led by Aero Research Partners (ARP) with construction firm Stepnell designing and building the unique scheme.

The delivery of the project was made possible through a partnership approach, which involved West Northamptonshire Council. The Council bought the tunnel from the Department for Transport and it is now leased to ARP. The project also received £4.2 million of investment from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, secured through the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP).

Work on site got underway in January 2018 and is now in its final stages, with ARP undertaking commissioning and trials before Stepnell returns to lay the final asphalt layer so vehicle testing can get underway.

Find out more about the Catesby Aerodynamic Research Facility

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