A FORMER McLaren boss is the new CEO of Swindon-headquartered manufacturing specialists which work with Formula 1..

Dan Walmsley joins Retrac Group after playing a key role in the Ventilator Challenge UK Consortium, where he co-ordinated production activities for Airbus, Ford, Siemens, McLaren, Penlon and GKN Automotive as part of the Cabinet Office response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Before that, Mr Walmsley spent four years as McLaren’s motorsport director and four years as team principle at FIA World Sportscar Championship team Strakka Racing.

He will now lead the group’s two divisions: Retrac Productions Ltd and Retrac Composites Ltd.

Long-standing co-owner and Retrac Productions managing director Andy Carter is now chairman.

This shake-up comes after the company's employees, with help from ICON Corporate Finance, acquired the business through an Employees Ownership Trust (EOT) in an eight-figure deal.

Five decades of ownership by the Carter family has been transferred to the 115-strong workforce who will now benefit from the company’s future success.

Mr Walmesley said: "Retrac Group has been a key supplier to more than half of the Formula 1 World Champions over the past 25 years.

"The business has diversified its blue-chip client portfolio across multiple sectors, providing engineering solutions in advanced materials, tooling and component manufacture.

“We aim to build on this legacy under the EOT by targeting revenue growth of 50 per cent by 2023 and creating a bright future BY bringing tomorrow’s technologies into reality for our clients today through the use of innovative, lightweight materials and rapid manufacturing."

Mr Carter said: “We firmly believe that the EOT mechanism is the correct succession plan for the business. Since my father founded Retrac in 1972, the most important aspect of the business is the employees.

"The average service record of more than a decade stands as testament to the loyalty and commitment of the Retrac workforce.

“The benefits that employee ownership can bring to businesses are widely acknowledged – including improved employee engagement and wellbeing, and better business performance. We want our employees to have the chance to share in future success.

“Thanks to ICON’s advice, expertise and support throughout, we are able to take the business to the next phase, increasing growth and enhancing the security and prospects of all our employees.”

ICON Corporate Finance director James Kenward said: “We are delighted to have led, and supported the shareholders on this transaction.

"The Retrac team have created an award-winning innovative composites and engineering group that fulfils mission-critical supply to the largest global manufactures in F1, motorsport, aerospace and defence.

"It has been a pleasure to work with the team and we look forward to their continued success under new ownership.”