Cape crusaders dream of Grand Prix

Further details are emerging about the plans for a new racing circuit close to Cape Town International Airport. The plan is to build a circuit on land which lies adjacent to the old South African Air Force base on the north-eastern side of the airport, alongside the Stellenbosch Road and close to the community of Belhar. The circuit will be in a triangle of land and will snake around a central public area. The design has been put together by Hermann Tilke.

The land is currently scrubland and if agreed would form part of an industrial development on the western side of the airport. A road from the circuit would go south and link up with the N2 motorway, which links the airport to downtown Cape Town, about 20 minutes away.

Although everyone seems to be keen on the idea it remains to be seen whether the money needed can be found to sustain an event. The SA GP Bid Company says it has 90% of the $75m needed to build the track but now needs commitments from the provincial government and Cape Town city council to help pay the fees to stage the races each year. The organisers reckon that the event would pull in 30,000 international visitors and inject large sums of money into the local economy, in addition to advertising the Cape area as a tourist destination. The big advantage enjoyed by South Africa is that there is no time difference to Europe and so visitors do not have to cope with jet lag, a big issue on a short holiday.

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