Frank Williams has been a successful Formula One team owner for over 30 years. During that time, his team has learned a lot about building cars out of carbon fiber and making the hybrid electric power trains found in all forms of motor sports today. All that experience has led to the creation of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), a consultancy which seeks to apply that wealth of experience to meeting real world engineering challenges.
Williams Advanced Engineering used its carbon fiber expertise to help Jaguar build the stunning Jaguar C-X75 concept car, and then it used its racing experience to design the car’s 850 hp plug-in hybrid power train. Williams crafted the electric flywheel technology for the 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car and partnered with Audi to develop the hybrid power drive train for their all conquering Le Mans race cars. Williams is also the exclusive supplier of batteries for the new Formula E electric race car series.
Mike O’Driscoll, Williams Group CEO, told AutoCar that;
“We are commercializing the technology and the know-how of our F1 operation and, while we are still a young business, it is developing fast.”
The fact that in less than five years a technology first developed for a racing car is now being installed on a renewable microgrid is testament to the ability we have to accelerate technical innovations that help address important issues such as global warming.” The flywheel energy storage system Williams developed for Porsche is now used to stabilize power grids in the Scottish highlands.
Many car companies are looking to carbon fiber chassis components as they seek to reduce the weight of their vehicles to save fuel and improve performance. The Williams Formula One team uses Mercedes engines, but it is working closely with Mercedes on the hybrid power trains used in Formula One racing today. There is a strong possibility that Williams technology will be found under the hood of Mercedes electric and hybrid road cars in the near future.
There is an old expression that says racing improves the breed. Williams is using its racing expertise to drive technological change not only in motor sports but in the larger world as well.