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BRDC members vote unanimously in support of new British Grand Prix deal

MEMBERS of the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) voted unanimously on Monday to support the proposed deal for Silverstone to host the British Grand Prix for the next 15 years under the management of Octagon.

The BRDC, who own the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire, held an Emergency General Meeting at Silverstone on Monday and voted to back the deal announced earlier this month for Octagon to lease the rights to host the British Grand Prix to Silverstone for the next 15 years.

"The board, headed by BRDC chairman Martin Brundle and supported by president Jackie Stewart, made the recommendations to the members," said BRDC spokesman David Burnside.

"McLaren boss Ron Dennis also supported the proposals through a video link-up and the vote was passed unanimously in support.

"There were a lot of questions from the floor, including several questions from Sir Stirling Moss, but the support was unanimous."

Octagon, who own the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent, had acquired the rights to host the British Grand Prix from 2002.

But after complications with planning applications to develop Brands Hatch, Octagon founder and chairman Frank Lowe struck a deal with BRDC president Stewart to lease the event to Silverstone.

"The club is delighted to have in place a structured partnership with Octagon that ensures Silverstone Circuit remains the centerpiece of British motorsport," said Stewart.

"We are proud that our industry has united in promoting a great British success story. We hope that the Government will join the industry, uniting all those interested in sponsoring the success of a great future for British motorsport."

Lowe said: "I am pleased that the BRDC have ratified the agreement between Octagon and Silverstone."

Octagon, along with the BRDC and Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone, have vowed to invest "substantially" into developing and improving the Silverstone circuit.

The three groups are believed to be ready to spend 60 million (pounds) to improve Silverstone and to help avoid a repeat of this year's event in April when heavy rain affected the facilities and marred the race weekend.

Burnside added: "A master plan is already being developed by our strategy team. Work will start early next year and will cover the whole circuit, but the main priorities will be to improve the car-parks, access roads and pit-lanes for example."

The British Grand Prix has been returned to its traditional July date for the 2001 season, after which, Silverstone will be substantially re-developed for the next 15 years.

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