JANUARY 5, 2004

Palmer leads Brands Hatch purchase group

Jonathan Palmer and two partners John Britten and Peter Ogden have bought Brands Hatch, Cadwell Park, Oulton Park and Snetterton, with their MotorSport Vision company. This is a new firm which aims to develop the four circuits. Palmer has enjoyed considerable success in the past with his facility at Bedford.

"We are totally committed to developing motorsport at the MotorSport Vision circuits and believe that through innovation and quality enhancement we can revitalise one of the UK's most exciting sports," said Palmer. "The future of these historic venues as motor racing circuits is now assured. Central to our plans is continued ownership of all four circuits and development of the motorsport business at each of them, in accordance with their character and opportunities they present. In four years Bedford Autodrome has become the most successful corporate motorsport venue in the country, though it was never designed to hold motor racing events. The addition of these four major circuits provides a most valuable complementary portfolio of venues."

Both Britten and Ogden are wealthy men. Britten established the Morse Computer company in 1983 as a retail operation to exploit the early PC market but the company gradually moved into corporate sales and introduced consulting, engineering and maintenance services. In 1989 the firm went into parrtnership with Sun Microsystems to sell its workstations and servers. The company expanded in the 1990s with partnerships with Hewlett-Packard and IBM and in 1999 was floated on the London Stock Exchange. Britten was also involved in motor racing as a team owner in the 1980s.

Ogden has a doctorate in physics and an MBA from Harvard. He then joined the investment bank Morgan Stanley and rose to become managing-director between 1980 and 1984 and then concentrated on running Computacenter, a company he started in 1981 with Philip Hulme. He is a non-executive director of Abbey National plc and Psion plc and in 1997 floated Computacenter and created the Ogden Charitable Trust.