The British Racing Drivers' Club plans restructuring

THE steering committee of the British Racing Drivers Club has revealed proposals to restructure the club's involvement with the Silverstone racing circuit. The idea is for the creation of an independent company, wholly-owned by the members of the BRDC, to take over the running of Silverstone in exchange for an annual payment of $2.25m (or 25% of the profits generated by the circuit). The deal would not include Silverstone Estates, which owns the land on which the circuit is built. This will continue to be run by the BRDC. We hear that Silverstone Estates has been left out of the deal because it is shortly expecting a $40m deal with a tenant for its planned technology park. This is almost certainly the Ford Motor Company which has plans to relocate Cosworth and probably the Jaguar Racing F1 team to Silverstone in the course of the next two or three years.

The new company will be able to commercialize the circuit as it sees fit and this might well include an agreement for the facility to be rented out to Brands Hatch Leisure, the company which owns the rights to host the British Grand Prix between 2002 and 2007. The BRDC steering committee believes that BHL will not be able to get the necessary rebuilding work at the Kentish track completed in the time available (if at all) and that Silverstone could then be rented to BHL.

BRDC members will have to vote on the proposal in June.

For the moment Brands Hatch continues to argue that it will be able to get the necessary planning permission and have the work needed done in time for a race in July 2002. Last week BHL issued details of an independent survey done for them which shows that 85% of the local residents are in favor of the circuit being redeveloped. The company is planning to spend almost $40m on the upgrading work, which will include new traffic and parking arrangements, which used to be a problem when Brands Hatch hosted F1 events in the 1980s.

The BRDC steering committee includes Formula 1 team owners Ron Dennis and Frank Williams.

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