Following evaluation of over 40 potential post war sites, including Donnington Park and Silverstone, MIRA took ownership of the current Watling Street site in 1946. However, the MIRA story had started some decades earlier as MIRA emerged from the experimental arm of the Institute of Automobile Engineers.
The current headquarter buildings on the A5 were completed in 1953, one year ahead of MIRA's formal opening ceremony which took place on the 21st May 1954. The high speed track, which was completed in early 1954, was used for a grand cavalcade of vehicles in front of the Minister for Transport, Rt Hon A T Lennox-Boyd to celebrate the opening.
One of the first laboratory facilities to be constructed was the Full Scale Wind Tunnel, which was completed in 1959. This facility has provided a global benchmark for aerodynamic testing and is still in full operation today.
For almost three decades, MIRA was supported by the UK Government and was governed by a council formed from member companies. Since the mid-seventies MIRA has operated as an independent and completely self-funding, commercial operation with governance moving from a council to a board of directors.
Though originally conceived to serve the UK automotive industry, MIRA ventured into mainland Europe in the early seventies, securing SAAB as its first overseas member. MIRA's appetite for international business developed quickly and by the early eighties contracts had been won in the USA, China and Korea. Today MIRA provides its services across the globe with overseas operations in many countries including China, Korea, India, Brazil and Turkey.
In the company's formative years, the MIRA brand was synonymous with automotive testing the world over. These days, though testing is still a part of MIRA's service offering it only accounts for around 40% of the total business. The majority of MIRA's activity today is focused on vehicle and transport engineering, supporting vehicle manufacturers to design and develop their future products.
Though still majoring in the automotive sector, MIRA has diversified into the rail, aerospace and defence sectors, MIRA remains unique in the breadth of vehicle engineering services it provides, from styling and concept engineering through to testing and certification. In many areas of technology MIRA is right at the cutting edge, engaging in frontline research to develop solutions in areas such as low carbon vehicles, intelligent mobility and autonomous control.
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