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Ricardo plc

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Title: Ricardo plc  
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Subject: Automotive industry in the United Kingdom, Electric Car Corporation, McLaren M838T engine, Ocelot (vehicle), Hennessey Venom GT
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Ricardo plc

Ricardo plc
Type Public (LSE: RCDO)
Industry Automotive, Clean energy, Defense, Rail, Marine
Founded 1927 (as Ricardo Consulting Engineers Ltd.)
Headquarters Shoreham-by-Sea, England
Key people Dave Shemmans (CEO)
Revenue Increase £162.8 million (2009/2010)
Operating income Increase £12.6 million (2009/2010)
Employees 1,500 (2011)

Ricardo plc is a British publicly listed company named after its founder, Sir Harry Ricardo originally incorporated and registered as Engine Patents Ltd in 1915 and since 1919 based at Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex. The company is a leading global multi-industry engineering provider of technology, product innovation and strategic consulting. Ricardo develops engines, transmissions, vehicle systems, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and hybrid & electric systems. The industries served are in transportation, defence and clean energy.


As well as the Shoreham head office, there are technical centres in Royal Leamington Spa, Cambridge, Chicago, Detroit, Santa Clara California[1] USA, Aachen, Schwäbisch Gmünd (Germany), Prague, China, Yokohama, Korea, India, and Russia.

Notable designs

  • The Comet series of diesel engines. One of the earliest types of indirect injection system, the Comet's 'swirl' chambers made high-speed diesel engines practical. First used in AEC London Buses, and the 1935 Citroën Rosalie passenger car, its pre-combustion system is still used in today's diesel engines and has been improved over the decades.[2]
  • Gas turbine Barostat fuel supply systems for jet engines, in conjunction with Sir Frank Whittle.
  • The draught-sensing three point linkage used by tractors. Ricardo's innovation was to automate it so that it only operates when the vehicle is moving.
  • Investigations into the Stirling engine for fuel-efficiency - commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy in 1978, it has scope for use in hybrid engines.
  • The Rutan Voyager's Teledyne Continental Motors aircraft engine, modified to fly around the world non-stop without refuelling.
  • Direct fuel-injection systems for aircraft and automobile engines.
  • About 1990 Ricardo undertook the development of an automatic layshaft transmission as part of an integrated power-train control system.[3]
  • Transmissions and engines for motor sport and speed records, notably the gearbox for the Audi R8 used in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the JCB Dieselmax diesel land speed record holder,[4] and the DSG-type gearbox of the Bugatti Veyron.
  • Improving the BMW K1200 series motorcycle engines which were subsequently fitted to the BMW Motorrad K1300S, K1300GT and K1300R models.[5]
  • Executing the complete design of the six cylinder motor for the BMW Motorrad K1600GT and K1600GTL, and the design and manufacture of its transmission, under contract to BMW.
  • An engine capable of switching between two-stroke and four-stroke cycles is the result of a collaboration between Ricardo, Denso, Jaguar Land-Rover and the Centre for Automotive Engineering at the University of Brighton. The engine is claimed to improve fuel economy by up to 25%.[6]
  • The company collaborated with Xtrac Limited to develop the Xtrac 1044 gearbox, supplied in 2010 to three Formula One teams: Lotus, Virgin and HRT. This gearbox is mated to the Cosworth CA2010 engine.[7]
  • Ricardo helped McLaren develop and produce the M838T, the latter's first ever engine which is derived from Nissan VRH-35 engine.[8] The new engine is built at Ricardo's new engine assembly facility in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex.[9]

Catalytic Converters

Ricardo worked with the Johnson Matthey company (a major refiner of Platinum metal) to develop catalytic converters suitable for mass-produced road cars.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Mazda pickup trucks add refinements for 1983, Los Angeles Times, 10 October 1982, Page Q31; Los Angeles Times, 2 January 1983, Page Q36
  3. ^ Gott, Philip G., Changing Gears: The Development of the Automotive Transmission, Society of Automotive Engineers, 1991, Pages 366-369
  4. ^ Ingenia report on JCB max
  5. ^ Carter, Tony. "A VERY SPECIAL K 1300 THAT IS". MSL April 2009 - Issue no. 583. Motorcycle Sport & Leisure Magazine. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  6. ^ The Engineer: Technology & Innovation Awards 2009, The Engineer, London, 9 November 2009, Page 43.
  7. ^ Racecar Engineering, Vol 20 No 3, March 2010, Pages 31-36.
  8. ^ "Car & Driver: 2012 McLaren MP4-12C Tech Trickledown". 1 February 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "New Ricardo engine assembly facility commences pilot production". Retrieved 19 February 2011. 

External links

  • Ricardo plc website
  • Ricardo Extends DCT Production for Open-top Bugatti
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