Ian Foley, Company Founder and Managing Director of Equipmake, is a highly-experienced engineer who has worked in global motorsport at the highest level – from Le Mans to F1.
Beginning his career in 1988 at Lotus Engineering, Ian developed the very first active suspension systems for the famous Hethel company’s road cars. Following a stint at F1 team Benetton in 1993, he returned to Lotus in 1995 to work again on active suspension, but this time for Lotus F1 before moving to endurance racing, again with Lotus, as a race engineer.
As a sideline to his top-level motorsport role, Ian developed his own paddle shift gearbox in 1997 for endurance racing – which is how Equipmake was born. Further developing the business, Ian supplied engineering and EV consultancy services to many industry sectors. In the early 2000s, Equipmake was researching electric motors and flywheels in anticipation of F1 moving to hybrid powertrains.
Ian proposed the idea of a flywheel to the FIA, which was met positively, and resulted in Ian and a team of Equipmake engineers working with the Williams F1 in 2009 on a successful hybrid flywheel system. This innovation went on to further success with Porsche and Audi in endurance racing (with Audi winning Le Mans three times) – and with applications for the flywheel technology outside of motorsport, Williams Hybrid Power was formed, with Ian as managing director.
The same flywheel was engineered and developed for hybrid buses. At this point, Ian’s dedication to creating and supplying affordable electronification solutions expanded from high-performance automotive to bus and commercial vehicles with an industry zero emission objective.
The high-speed flywheel developed for the Williams program was also effectively a composite electric motor, so Ian left Williams Hybrid Power in 2014 and concentrated fully on Equipmake, with the aim of using some of the expertise developed in electrification and applying it to a new design of motor, becoming the APM series of spoke motors.