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Silverstone moves forward

THE BRITISH RACING DRIVERS' CLUB last week voted to establish a company called Silverstone Operations Ltd. with the main aim of winning back the British Grand Prix to Silverstone while at the same time creating a more effective commercial structure which is not directly influenced by the BRDC and thus can operate independently to increase income from the track.

The club held an extraordinary general meeting last Thursday and needed agreement from at least 615 of the 820 members to push ahead. Silverstone Operations Ltd. will pay the BRDC an annual fee for the use of Silverstone.

The most important issue needing to be resolved is the future of the British Grand Prix. Silverstone's current contract ends after next year's race and at the moment the contract for 2002 belongs to Brands Hatch Leisure, which runs the Brands Hatch racing circuit in Kent. It is becoming increasingly clear that Brands Hatch will not be ready in time because of problems with planning permission. Silverstone is aiming to reach an agreement to lease the Northamptonshire facility to the company that manages Brands Hatch and so retain the event.

The two companies are also understood to be discussing possible links at other levels of motor racing.

The vote is a big step forward for the BRDC after a year of uncertainty and political infighting which was sparked off when Brands Hatch boss Nicola Foulston offered to buy the circuit.

"I am absolutely delighted that at last the whole club has united," said BRDC chairman Ken Tyrrell. "The future development of motor sport at Silverstone is assured."

The plan to form an independent company came from a BRDC steering committee which included Formula 1 team bosses Ron Dennis and Frank Williams and former F1 driver Martin Brundle.

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