The British Racing Drivers' Club's recently revealed plans for the expansion of the site surrounding the Silverstone grand prix circuit looks likely to brought closer to fruition by a deal with Qatari-based investor.
The addition of a new pit-lane and paddock complex in time for this year's British Grand Prix
was just the latest phase of the circuit's redevelopment, with plans for further additions - including hotels, a museum and technology centre - unveiled earlier this month [see story here
]. The BRDC, however, has been looking for a financial partner to continue its overhaul of the venue, and Harrods-owner Qatar Investment Authority has emerged as the preferred choice from a shortlist of interested parties drawn up by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
According to Britain's Independent
newspaper, the QIA is currently conducting due diligence, with a decision expected to be taken some time in the next six months. Land adjacent to the circuit has been earmarked for the various construction projects, all of which offer the potential for investors to make a return. Despite the success of the British Grand Prix, and associated events such as the MotoGP and WSBK rounds, the BRDC reported a £1.9m pre-tax loss for the year ending December 2010.
"To do all the development, they have had to borrow a massive amount of money and, long-term, the club can't sustain that," a source told the Independent
, "So they want to take a lot of money for a very, very long lease from a substantial entity, perhaps a sovereign fund, which will continue development there."
It is believed that QIA is being offered a 150-year lease on the site in exchange for £250m, but the BRDC is expected to insist that venue be maintained sufficiently to warrant an extension to its current F1 contract, with motorsport remaining as its principal purpose.