South Africans plan Grand Prix bid

A South African consortium is bidding for a Grand Prix in 2007. David Gant of Parallel Media South Africa, a member of the consortium, says that a site near Cape Town's international airport has been picked out as the site of a new facility and that preliminary talks have been held with a number of private sector companies.

The promoters of the idea say that they want to see government backing for the event. Gant says that the consortium met with Sports Minister Ngconde Balfour in March (he has since changed jobs) to discuss government participation in the bid. The group says it is now in negotiation with the Minister of Trade and Industry. The group is backing up the project saying that they have calculated that the direct economic impact of a Grand Prix in the area would be in the region of $160m per year.

There is no doubt that Formula 1 would love to go to South Africa but it will be a question of money. The consortium seems to have some serious backing with support from Omega Investment Research, an international corporate advisory body with an impressive client list, a black empowerment firm called Orlyfunt and the support of the country's biggest consulting engineering group BKS.

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