Science & Technology

A close examination of Fyshe’s products at its new Silverstone Park base quickly reveals that not all race-wear for racing drivers is cut from the same cloth.

Chris Nurse’s company is the exclusive global licensee and distribution partner in motorsport for sportswear giant adidas. It is also the UK importer and distributer in car racing for Arai, among the biggest names when it comes to crash helmets.

The multi-billion dollar industries of NASCAR and Indycar in the USA, much of Audi’s motorsport activity in the Chinese and Asian regions, Brazil’s hugely successful stock car scene as well as sportscar competition in most markets around the world are all supplied by Fyshe.

Chris explains: “Adidas granted Fyshe category responsibility for motorsport some six years ago – it’s a great honour. My business essentially runs the entire global motorsport category – from product design and creation, new material technology development through to sales, marketing and distribution and driver and team relationships.

“We have over 120 specialist motorsport retail partners around the world. Our head office is at Silverstone, although we have a regional operation in Miami and we will be setting up another elsewhere in the world in the next six to 12 months.”

Chris is also quick to point out that the attraction of setting up his company’s head office at Silverstone Park was two-fold.

“Firstly it’s very interesting that MEPC, as a professional property company, are taking a very active role in the future of the Silverstone area,” he adds.

“Secondly, many of our overseas customers race at Silverstone during the year so this brings an opportunity for us to see them and for them to come and meet us and see what we are about. It also gives us the opportunity to develop B2B business with, for example, RAM Racing who are also based here. As well as racewear we provide clothing for race teams’ travel and working requirements.”

From Arai’s helmets to race suits, underwear, gloves, boots and balaclavas carrying the famous adidas logo, the very latest technologies and thinking in sports science are used in the pursuit of added performance.

“The latest Arai helmet we supply is manufactured from the same carbon fibre Boeing uses to construct the wings on its Dreamliner jet airliners,” says Chris.

“Then there’s the Climacool technology incorporated into our adidas racewear range. There is a very real link between heat and stress management and the performance of a driver when they are on the race track. If a driver loses concentration because he or she is too hot or uncomfortable there is a risk of under performing or, worse, going off the track!

“Increasingly race teams are coming to appreciate that having the right type of racewear is a source of performance advantage – like finding three tenths of a second through engine tuning on the car.

“The material technology used in our underwear and race suits has moisture wicking characteristics– in other words it removes moisture from the skin when the body starts to sweat.

“Furthermore while all the racewear carries the adidas brand mark we look very carefully at where to place sponsors’ logos. In designing racewear we seek to ensure that branding and sponsor logos are not only visible but are positioned so that they do not impede driver performance. We are proud of that attention to detail.”

There is clearly a real passion among the small but expanding team of people working with Chris at Fyshe’s Silverstone Park headquarters and customer service centre.

“Motorsport is not a branding exercise for adidas,” continues Chris. “We are continually striving to improve the breed – it’s about the product, the quality and the technical story and best in class for customer service.

“Fundamentally we are in business to keep our customers safe and help them perform as well as looking great. We spend considerable time and effort with our textile partners developing new materials. The quality control is of a high order and the manufacturing facilities we source from are world-class from both an operational and financial standpoint.

“We very much see Silverstone as our home for a considerable period of time as our facility at Silverstone Park has the capacity to allow us to grow in the future.”