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Circuit of Wales ‘confident’ it can meet revised terms

Circuit of Wales Chief Executive Martin Whitaker has held talks with the Welsh Assembly and is 'confident' of reaching new financial terms.
Circuit of Wales Chief Executive Martin Whitaker says the project has held positive discussions with the Welsh Assembly ministers and is 'confident' of meeting the new terms of agreement set out to give the circuit approval to begin development.

The Welsh Assembly has rejected Circuit of Wales' second funding proposal after judging it to carry to great a risk to the taxpayer, according to Economic and Infrastructure minister Ken Skates.

Within the financial proposal Circuit of Wales was seeking loans of £90 million from the local councils of Blaenau Gwent and Monmouthshire after having its initial funding plan – to get the Welsh Assembly to underwrite the entire project – was rejected in April.

In a written statement, Skates confirmed the revised plan was denied as it put 'only around 17% of the [financial] risk being taken by the private sector' which he describes as 'unacceptable' in the post-Brexit economic situation.

Skates has issued a new plan for the Circuit of Wales project leaders to meet which would see 50% of the funding needed for construction to be raised privately, while 50% of the underwriting will also need to come from the private sector.

Circuit of Wales leader Whitaker, former general manager of the Bahrain International Circuit, has held 'positive' talks with government ministers and is confident the project can meet the new funding terms.

“The Welsh Government clearly recognises the enormous benefit the development will bring to the people of Blaenau Gwent and the profile of Wales,” a statement from Whitaker said. “In the coming days, under the instruction of the Cabinet Secretary [Skates], we will work with his team to reach agreement and deliver a successful conclusion to discussions.

“As a predominantly privately initiated and financed partnership with government we are confident that an equitable balance of risk sharing can be delivered.

“The Cabinet Secretary has requested we deliver the guarantee to below 50% of the total project costs and we are confident we can do so over the course of the project.”

The Circuit of Wales project is set to be financially backed by insurance giants Aviva who are potentially lined up to cover to new funding plan changes.

The venture secured a five-year deal with Dorna to host the British MotoGP which began last year and had originally hoped to move the event to Ebbw Vale in 2017. After interruptions in confirming financial backing MotoGP has been delayed by 12 months, with the Welsh circuit expected to take over hosting duties in 2018.

Silverstone will host this year's British MotoGP and is likely to be called upon for the 2017 race but this is yet to be confirmed by Dorna.
by Haydn Cobb

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July 14, 2016 12:12 PM

I still don't understand what Dorna were thinking of granting a multi-year deal to a circuit which is so far away from existing that most of the current GP riders will have retired before they get a chance to race there... utter idiocy. This is the same sort of logic which leaves the WSB calendar with a ridiculously long summer break by scheduling a track as "subject to homologation" and then making the fall-back track Vallelunga, which is also subject to homologation. Lunacy. On a side note I wonder how much the CoW committee is being charged each time Silverstone host a GP on their behalf??

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