Coolest run­ning

Herald Sun - Motoring - - NEWS - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@news.com.au

A fa­ther-and-son com­pany is keep­ing 70 per cent of the grand prix world on track, in­clud­ing the Red Bull rac­ers that claimed four of the past five world ti­tles, thanks to Aus­tralian ra­di­a­tor tech­nol­ogy.

It’s also re­spon­si­ble for keep­ing the Porsche 918 and McLaren P1 road-go­ing su­per­cars run­ning smoothly, as well as cool­ing the new track­only As­ton Martin Vul­can.

PWR, a Queens­land com­pany es­tab­lished by Kees and Paul Weel, turns over an es­ti­mated $50 mil­lion-plus a year and has cus­tomers around the world. The Weels started with road-car projects but have found a lu­cra­tive niche that makes them one of the mo­tor in­dus­try’s ex­port suc­cess sto­ries. They have also re­cently ex­panded into Bri­tain.

“There is a huge mar­ket around the world for small car builds, up to 5000 cars,” Paul Weel says.

“A lot of the big­ger man­u­fac­tur­ers don’t look at any­thing un­der 10,000.

“We’ve come a long way in a pretty short time. We have 90 em­ploy­ees at our fac­tory on the Gold Coast and we will have another 70 in the UK.

“We moved in to a fac­tory with 7500 square me­tres, and we’re just mov­ing into the build­ing next door which is another 2500 square me­tres. There is a lot of work for us in Europe at the mo­ment.”

Wheel is re­luc­tant to go into de­tail on much of PWR’s work but the com­pany spe­cialises in com­plex ra­di­a­tor shapes and even has a full-scale wind tun­nel and de­vel­op­ment team to han­dle big clients in­clud­ing the grand prix teams.

“We’re ex­pand­ing our spe­cial­ity cores. Non-nor­mal shapes is the best way to de­scribe it. That’s the For­mula One stuff and other com­pound curves,” Weel says.

PWR has just ab­sorbed an Amer­i­can ra­di­a­tor spe­cial­ist and Weel says there is lots of po­ten­tial growth in the US.

“We’re look­ing for more growth in the US. A whole range of things, from niche road cars to mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles, Shelby road cars and Ford and GM for one-off projects. We’ve got a fair bit on. But we’re a bit guarded.”

He is proud­est of PWR’s suc­cess in F1 and is look­ing to even­tu­ally sup­ply the whole grid.

“We have seven teams at the mo­ment. We’ve been work­ing with Red Bull the long­est. By the end of the year we’ll prob­a­bly have eight of the 10 teams.

“Fer­rari is one of our tar­gets for the fu­ture. We’re mak­ing head­way with them on their For­mula One pro­gram. Mercedes is the other main team we’re look­ing at.”

Core strengths: Ra­di­a­tors built by Paul Weel, left, keep the likes of Aus­tralia’s Red Bull driver Daniel Ric­cia­rdo com­pet­i­tive

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