F1 » 3 May 2012
Silverstone continues investment search
Despite having had a preferred bidder enjoying a period of exclusivity for some time, the British Racing Drivers' Club is preparing to broaden its hunt for possible investors for its development plan.
The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) continues its plan to attract commercial investment to help realise the full potential of Silverstone and its 760-acre estate.
The BRDC signed an exclusivity agreement with one prospective partner towards the end of 2011 and, while negotiations with the potential investor remain positive, the impending end of the period of exclusivity has convinced the club to broaden its search and engage with other interested parties. That preferred investor is understood to be Qatari and the latest development may be seen as something of a 'hurry-up' as talks drag on.
“The commercial potential of Silverstone and the estate is significant and we are seeking external investment from third parties who share our vision to help us realise that potential more quickly,” BRDC chairman Stuart Rolt confirmed, “While progress has, and is, being made with our original preferred partner, negotiations have not yet developed into an agreement. As the period of exclusivity has come to a close, we are now speaking to other potential investors.
“The BRDC has funded the new Grand Prix circuit, state-of-the-art Silverstone Wing complex, key developments around the venue and the planning process for the 'Silverstone Masterplan'. An appropriately qualified investor will help to develop Silverstone further, into a world-class, multi-purpose centre for motorsport, high technology business, training and education. This is our vision and we remain committed to that.”
The home of British motorsport received a major boost in its long-term security late last year, when both Aylesbury Vale District Council and South Northamptonshire Council gave the circuit planning permission to carry out its '20 year Masterplan'.
The 'Silverstone Development' brief, first put forward in February 2009, proposes a major revamp of the site which will consist of three hotels, a business park, technology centre, education campus, exhibition centre and improved spectator and leisure facilities including a karting track. Existing elements of the circuit will also go under some refurbishment.
The government's plans to fund and establish a University Technical College (UTC) at Silverstone will be another significant development, providing up to 540 young people aged 14-19 with the opportunity to train for a career in high-performance engineering or event management.
Any new facilities will also add to the venue's existing thriving business, which includes Silverstone's flagship event, the F1 British Grand Prix, and Rolt insists that the development plan will be carried out one way or another.
“With or without any investment, the long term futures of both Silverstone and the British Grand Prix are absolutely secure,” he reiterated, “The Silverstone business continues to grow and is a commercial success, running major international events such as the British Grand Prix and Britain's rounds of the FIM MotoGP World Championship and Superbike World Championship.
“Should the BRDC be successful in securing external investment, it will enable us to realise the full potential of Silverstone more quickly. If we cannot find a suitable partner, we shall continue with the development ourselves, albeit at a slower pace.”
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