After a successful career in Formula 1 with BRM, Lotus and Surtees, Mike Pilbeam launched Pilbeam Racing Designs in 1975.
Based in rural Lincolnshire, the company quickly established itself as the premier manufacturer of Hillclimb single seater and sports racing cars. 17 UK Hillclimb titles in the last 21 years are ample testimony of the company's expertise in this field. But PRD is much more than just a specialist Hillclimb chassis manufacturer. F3, Formula Renault, Rally (Group A, WRC and F2), GT and Super Touring Car projects have all been undertaken, with much success, for customers including General Motors, Ford, Honda, Peugeot and Hyundai.
To enhance its design capability, the company has invested heavily in state of the art Computer Aided Design (CAD) facilities that include Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and 3D & Kinematic Solid Modelling. PRD designers have accumulated a wealth of experience in all areas of motor sport design, with particular emphasis on the chassis and aerodynamic aspects.
In a large purpose built factory, the Production Department is fully equipped to handle all types of manufacturing work. Jigging and fixtures are made 'in house' and all fabrications feature pulse TiG welding for reduced distortion and greater strength. The Machine Shop boasts both manual and CNC milling and turning capabilities. Car build, setup and repair is carried out by skilled mechanics in an open plan Assembly Area incorporating a 6m x 3m floor level surface plate. The Inspection Department is equipped with a comprehensive suite of measuring equipment. A 100% inspection regime is rigorously observed throughout both manufacture and assembly.
The ability to undertake a project from "concept to completion" places PRD in a unique position to produce a competitive, affordable and safe sports racing car for the new millennium.
Since inception, the Company has continued to abide by its commitment to customer service and support.
After design spells at Lotus and BRM, culminating in the position of Chief Designer at the latter, Mike Pilbeam set up his own company and during the course of the next ten years designed and built cars that raced in Formula 1, 2, 3, 4, Formula Atlantic, Formula Ford 2000 and Formula Renault.
Following this period, a new and productive collaboration with GM emerged. From this came Nova, Vectra, Cavalier and Calibra Rally cars, Astra and Cavalier Touring cars and a Calibra Thundersaloon. The high regard developed for the Vauxhall 2 litre touring car engine led to this being selected for the MP62 Hillclimb car.
In recent years, Pilbeam have been responsible for the design and component manufacture of Honda Accord and Peugeot 406 Super Tourers, Vauxhall Vectra V6 SRi Challenge cars, and the Hyundai Coupe F2 Rally car. We also design and manufacture new suspension components to fit the Lotus Elise, Exige and 340R.
As well as designing and building complete racing cars, we also perform sub-component manufacture for other manufacturers, such as Ford Motorsport.
Advanced computerised design techniques are used to create and develop new racing and rally cars, but many years of experience is also used to ensure the best final result. Few companies can boast such a long and successful history in motor racing and in such a wide variety of projects.
An exciting new chapter in the 35 year history of the company was opened when the MP84 Sports Racing Car made its competitive debut in Round 3 of the International Sports Racing Series (ISRS) at Spa Francorchamps in May of 1999. This state of the art SR2/LMP2 class sports car represented the marques' re-entry into mainstream circuit racing. MP84-02, the first production car, completed only 2 days before the event, won Round 5 of the ISRS at Donington, England on the 18th of July 1999.
Since then, the MP84 won its class in the Sports Racing World Cup series in 2000. The European Le Mans Series (now the Le Mans Endurance Series) began in 2001 and Pilbeam has had success over many years with the MP84, and it's successors, the MP91 and now the MP93. With five appearances at the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours to date, Pilbeam has established itself as a leading manufacturer.
More recent projects have been the development of a Lotus Elise for rally, our MP98 Virage for entry-level sports car racing, further hillclimb projects/developments and the design of a new LMP2 Sports Prototype for the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours and World Endurance Championship.