Motor racing legends rarely get the chance to carve out a second career. But Ilmor, the engine maker originally famed for its Formula 1 engines, is a rare example of a business that has enjoyed continued success after changing lanes.

Founded by Paul Morgan and Mario Illien in the 1980s, Ilmor was a motor racing phenomenon, a designer and builder of engines first for American IndyCar racing and then in Formula 1 for the highly successful Mercedes team. But Morgan’s death in an aircraft accident in 2001 brought that era to a close. Mercedes bought out the business to ensure control of its prized F1 engine-making expertise.

"We are using our engineering talent to bring new ideas and products to other sectors such as the defence industry"

Steve Miller, Managing Director, Ilmor Engineering

Managing Director Steve Miller takes up the story: "Ilmor’s second life began in 2005 when its original backers bought back part of the business from Mercedes and reinstated the Ilmor name. Our strategy was to concentrate on two areas: first, to step up our racing business, Ilmor’s traditional strength, and second, to bring our high-tech engineering skills to other sectors.

"In 2012, Ilmor began competing again in American IndyCar racing and we won all four US championships. Some of the old magic must still be there.

  • F1 – Ilmor recently returned to the highest level of motor racing after focusing on the mass automotive sector

"Success is also coming in other areas. Ilmor is working with Boeing on a commercial jetliner project, and the relationship has proved so successful that we were awarded silver supplier status, a huge honour for a small company new to the airline business.

"We are using our engineering talent to bring new ideas and products to other sectors such as the defence industry, and work with prestigious car manufacturers to improve the performance end of the mass automotive business.

"Ilmor has about 70 employees with incredible skills, making them critical to the success of the business. We pride ourselves on providing a stable, receptive environment for some of the best brains in the business, often coming in as student apprentices."