After several years of searching, the British Racing Drivers' Club is reported to have finally found a buyer for the Silverstone complex.
The club, which has run the British Grand Prix venue since its inception, has been looking for a buyer for both the circuit's lease and the 850 acres of land in which it sits, in order to realise its vision of expanding the venue's viability with a mix of business, education and leisure facilities.
newspaper was unable to reveal the identity of the buyer, but believes that it is a real estate firm, with speculation surrounding the involvement of property group MEPC, which offered in the region of £40m for the lease and land package.
“A deal has been done on Silverstone,” a BRDC member claimed, “I don't know who bought it and I don't know what the terms are, but it is absolutely categoric that a deal has been done and not due to be announced until next month.”
The BRDC has long held ambitions to add a business park, education campus and hotels to the Silverstone site, but has seen several potential buyers fall by the wayside over the past four years. It will use the money received from the sale to deal with loans it took to fund the building of the Silverstone Wing complex and circuit modifications in 2010-11. The new facilities, a condition of the 17-year contract to stage the British Grand Prix, left the club with £26m of net debt in 2011.
Any buyer of the circuit would not only get a 150-year lease on the track – the BRDC is reluctant to sell the facility outright – and the right to promote the grand prix, which comes with an hosting fee of around £14m a year.
There has been no official comment from the BRDC, MEPC or the F1 Group, although it is understood that the deal was signed over a week ago and is now awaiting the approval of Bernie Ecclestone.