FEBRUARY 6, 1995

Spice plans bizarre F1 program

Spice is planning to establish its own Formula 1 team, based on the wrong side of the world - in Australia. The British racing car manufacturer built successful sportscars in the late 1980s but has been struggling since sportscar racing ran into difficulties. With the advent of GT racing, however, Spice plans to build its own road cars and race them. The investment in road car manufacturing has meant that Spice has been looking for ways to maximize the use of the necessary facilities and has come up with the idea of F1.

Spice's plan to relocate to the suburbs of Sydney, Australia comes as a result of incentives from the local government, keen to attract new industries to Sydney; the isolated Australian car market which makes imported sportscars extremely expensive; and the rapidly developing market for road and racing cars in the Pacific Rim area.

The US$60m project includes the extension of the Eastern Creek racing circuit, at which the new factory would be sited; the construction of a fullscale windtunnel and a research and development facility; and the establishment of an F1 team. This could be done as early as 1996, but the exact plans remain fluid, dependent on the outfit finding the necessary finance.

Spice management accept that it would be impossible to run an F1 team solely from Australia - and the plan includes the establishment of a separate race preparation facility in the UK. This would be a similar arrangement to that successfully used in the past by Honda for its F1 engines.