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The Road to 2030 – What is motorsport’s role in helping define the future?

The 11th World Motorsport Symposium, which takes place at the Thinktank at Birmingham’s Millennium Point on Monday 30 November/Tuesday 1 December promises to be the most controversial yet.

Against the background of recent developments in the automotive industry, where the testing of diesel has come under close scrutiny and which has probably given a fresh impetus to hybrids and electric cars, the theme of the Symposium is “the Road to 2030,” which has now probably changed course from what it was just a month ago.

Topics coming under discussion are the increased likelihood of further hybridisation in motorsport, electric cars, how electric car racing might receive a boost, how motorsport can aid battery development and the universal challenge of energy storage. These are just some of the topics being covered.

The World Motorsport Symposium is a unique event in the motorsport industry, because it brings together motorsport engineers and executives from different areas of the sport under one roof, to discuss and debate blue sky thinking. Because of the Chatham House principle – whereby no-one is attributed to anything they might say – it means that the conversations are open and free flowing.

While such discussions are useful in bringing into focus the issues of the day, as well as potential problem areas, what makes them all the more relevant is the presence of representatives from the FIA (technical director Bernard Niclot & Peter Wright) and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (sporting director Vincent Beaumesnil), who use the event to help them come to decisions about the future.

This year, the impressive line-up also includes the likes of Stephen Eriksen (vice president & COO at Honda Performance Racing), Alex Hitzinger (technical director of Porsche LMP1), Pascal Vasselon (technical director at Toyota Motorsport GmbH), Russ O’Blenes (senior manager, performance & racing team at GM Powertrain), Dialma Zinelli (head of aerodynamics at Dallara Automobili), Reiner Mangold (head of sustainable product development at Audi), Craig Wilson (managing director of Williams Advanced Engineering), Gilles Simon (engineering consultant at Willem Toet, aerodynamics expert Rob Lewis (managing director of TotalSim Ltd) and Christopher Tate (managing director of Donington Park Racing Ltd). Once again, the two chairmen are Ulrich Baretzky (director of Audi Sport Engine Development) and John Iley (technical consultant).

The two unique days continue into the evening, with the networking Awards Dinner which has become renowned for gathering the best in the industry and offering a perfect networking environment in a warm and friendly setting. Once again, it will be held at the elegant Hotel du Vin in Birmingham. The awards ceremony is kept short and sweet, with just three highly coveted awards: Racecar Aerodynamicist of the Year, Racing Engine Designer of the Year and Most Innovative New Motorsport Product of the Year. Previous winners include Andy Cowell (Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains), Adrian Newey (Red Bull F1), Ben Bowlby (Deltawing), Mike Elliott (Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team) and Rob White (Renault F1)

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