M-Sport's nerve center is Dovenby Hall, a former hospital that enjoys an idyllic setting in the heart of the Cumbrian countryside. The site has been extensively renovated and the old manor house now sits next to a state-of-the-art workshop.
The extensive site contains everything the team needs to function, with the vast majority of components produced in-house. The competition cars have the whole world as their stage, but everything comes together in this quiet corner of Cumbria.
THE SEARCH FOR A NEW HOME
The team moved to Dovenby in May 2000. But the story began many months earlier when Managing Director Malcolm Wilson OBE recognised that the requirements of his company meant his homely but cramped facilities on the opposite side of Cockermouth were no longer suited to the demands created by a sport moving forwards in leaps and bounds. Keeping the team base in northern England was important and finding the right location wasn't easy. A total of 38 properties on both sides of the country were viewed before the search ended at the Dovenby Hall Estate.
The former walled garden was converted into a 5,575 meter-square workshop, linked to the hall by a glazed walkway. It is in this football-pitch sized area, larger than the workshops of many Formula One teams, in which beats the heart of M-Sport. Inside is a vast array of technology which, allied to the expertise of some of the sport's finest brains, keeps the team at the forefront of the sport.
NEW STANDARDS IN MOTORSPORT
M-Sport's premises at Dovenby Hall set a benchmark in motorsport and few companies can boast a home set in 115 acres of lush parkland - modern workshops and engineering facilities contrasting beautifully with the Cumbrian countryside and the restored splendour of Dovenby Hall, a listed building of special historic interest.
While Dovenby Hall is fully operational, this is far from the end of the development at the site. There is ample space for enlargement in the future and work is continuing on several other aspects. As well as the home to Ford's global attack on the FIA World Rally Championship, Dovenby Hall Estate quickly developed as one of West Cumbria's premier business sites.
The diversity offered by the estate's accommodation has been a major part of its appeal as a business environment. It caters for all requirements, from single serviced offices in the main hall itself through to offices in the surrounding 'houses' - four stand-alone buildings that have been refurbished to offer up-to-date accommodation for some of the UK's leading companies.
There is 24-hour security with CCTV surveillance and controlled access and a number of features including a woodland walk, lecture theatre and restaurant facilities, all of which are accessible to occupants of the Estate.
TURNING HISTORY INTO A MODERN BASE
There was much to do. The premises had been empty and considerable restoration was required. Wilson sought support from the local council and business support agencies, both eager to lend experience and finance in return for the prestige of having a World Rally Championship team on their doorstep. Wilson and Carlisle-based Northern Developments focused their efforts on retaining the original features of the estate buildings, and designers concentrated on blending the ultra-modern workshop requirements into the site.
The result is a state-of-the-art facility that boasts amazing attention to detail. The hall was transformed into an office area offering modern accommodation for the company's key support staff in a manner sympathetic to the history and style of the building. Inside, the interior has been stripped to reveal the original twelfth-century stonework and the walls.
As well as being home to the team, Dovenby Hall also offers serviced office accommodation for external companies.