April 1, 2014 / 9:32 AM / 4 years ago

Williams F1 team sells hybrid power unit to GKN

LONDON (Reuters) - Williams Grand Prix Holdings, parent of the Formula One team, has sold a hybrid power unit that has applications in mass transport to British engineering firm GKN, the two companies announced on Tuesday.

GKN said it was paying 8 million pounds ($13.34 million) with further payments based on future sales and licences over the next 10 years.

Although relatively small in financial terms, the deal illustrates the spin-off value of technologies created for grand prix racing.

Williams Hybrid Power, which has developed flywheel systems for use in trams and buses and has also supplied the energy storage system for Audi’s Le Mans-winning sportscar, posted a loss of 1 million pounds after tax in 2013.

The technology was developed for the 2009 Williams Formula One car and the company felt that it now needed to be expanded to reap the full benefit.

“GKN have the resources and expertise to fully realise the enormous potential of the motorsport proven flywheel technology, primarily within a variety of public transport applications,” said Williams Group CEO Mike O‘Driscoll.

Williams added that the sale, from Williams Grand Prix Engineering to GKN Land Systems, would see the unit rebranded as GKN Hybrid Power. Fifty employees will move to GKN as part of the deal.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin and Keith Weir, editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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