In pursuit of a competitive edge, Formula One racing teams constantly demand smaller and lighter gearboxes. Xtrac claims to be the world’s top maker of gearboxes for Formula One and America’s top single-seater categories, including the Indianapolis 500 racing cars. Founded by Mike Endean in 1984, Xtrac originally operated out of Endean’s garage. But the company expanded quickly and in 1986 Endean took on ex-Formula One Williams team member Peter Digby, who led a management buyout in 1996 to become managing director. Digby says competitive pricing in a buoyant market and economies of scale have boosted profits by 32% pa, from £4.5m in 1995 to £10.5m in 1998. In the same period, turnover rose 25% pa to reach £30.8m in 1998. The Berkshire-based company has recently won three-year contracts to supply gearboxes for the Indianapolis 500 and the German and British Touring Car Championships in 1999.
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