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BRDC votes to invite investors into Silverstone
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BRDC votes to invite investors into Silverstone
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Aug 2009   |  7:44 pm GMT  |  21 comments

The efforts of the BRDC board to attract serious investment from outside sources to shore up the future of Silverstone took a step forward today when the members voted to allow the board to entertain offers.

Damon Hill has got his way on investment

Damon Hill has got his way on investment

It has been rumoured that investors from the Gulf are interested in buying in. This should not be confused with a sale, as Silverstone is ring fenced as an asset from sale, a move made several years ago when it was under threat from various sides.

The BRDC board can now go out and find investment partners willing to put capital into infrastructure projects such as technology centres and the pits and new buildings demanded by Bernie Ecclestone. Of course as things stand they do not have the contract for the British Grand Prix. Donington has that, but has been told by Bernie Ecclestone that if it cannot show him a bank guarantee at the end of September which gives him confidence that the funds are in place, he will take the race back to Silverstone. Today’s development strengthens Silverstone’s hand in this long running saga.

But there is a wider picture than just F1, as the statement from the BRDC tonight explained,

“The BRDC’s long term objective is to develop further Silverstone’s motor sport infrastructure, related technologies, education and training and to ensure that the UK continues to be the global leader in these specialist areas, ” it said.

Damon Hill, President of the BRDC said “This vote is a significant result for the future of Silverstone. Today’s EGM was not about selling Silverstone. BRDC Members were voting on whether or not the Board should be authorised to approach and negotiate deals, with potential investors, on behalf of the Club. It is purely commercial. “

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21 Comments
  1. Canard de donald says:

    Good for them.
    Where’s the patriot Richard Branson when he’s really needed to support one of our iconic institutions?
    Chasing some bloody new car mfg. that he can put his name on?
    Shame.

  2. Adam Taylor says:

    It is about time Silverstone and the BRDC in particular allowed outside investment. For years there has been talk of investment to improve the circuit facilities due to a lack of funds. I feel that this has mainly been due to the BRDCs arrogance to not allow any outside parties in. The last main facility to have been upgraded or changed was ironically the BRDCs own club house. But now that Silverstone has finally lost the Grand Prix there is new developments taking place such as the new Moto GP deal, the new circuit layout and now the potential of new investment.

    I think that they have reacted too little too late!!!

  3. rpaco says:

    The problem is that the investor will expect a big chunk of the profits from the BRDC. If the facilities were improved as Bernie wants, he (Bernie) will then demand a bigger F1 fee from them. They are over a barrel. They would need more major races.

    Maybe a 24 hour event like Snetterton. Silverstone is not really long enough for LMS but maybe with some infield modifications it could be made a lot longer, there is a lot of runway and parts of the short circuit there.

  4. Werewolf says:

    This can only be good news. Silverstone has suffered from parochial narrow-mindedness in certain BRCC circles that have prevented progress and a lack of support from the government in favour of other, more expensive but shorter lived, sporting projects.

    Private finance, perhaps rightly, is the solution and so long as this investment can be properly attracted without compromising the other motorsport objectives of Silverstone, which is more or less the home of British motorsport, this initiative is at long last to be applauded. No-one, though, wants to see housing developments that will inevitably lead to unwinnable noise pollution arguments, etc.

    1. Werewolf says:

      Make that BRDC – sorry!

  5. monktonnik says:

    You have to say that it is a shame that the BRDC have to get to the point of losing the race to finally get some outside help.

    James, should/could they have done this sooner?

    I am not sure that Bernie was ever serious about losing the British GP, and I expect that with a revamped Silverstone he will be happy

    1. James Allen says:

      Maybe, but it does seem quite hard to get the members to follow a lead. Perhaps they are wary after what happened with Walkinshaw in the past and then the Octagon business.

      1. monktonnik says:

        Clearly I need to read “A History of Silverstone”!

      2. rpaco says:

        Yes I remember Tom Walkinshaw mainly from the Trimoco BTCC when he ran/drove a very dubious spec (so it was rumoured but no one had the balls to call him on it, so it was never proved) Rover 3500.

        BUT then again when he got involved in Siverstone the ticket prices leapt up, we were poorer,someone got rich, could it have been Tom??

  6. Stephen says:

    Finally, it’s starting to look like the BDRC are realising that F1 is a commercial beast and not just something they are entitled to, but something they have to work for.
    Personally I hope Silverstone can because a global centre of excellence for modern technology, with F1 simply as the showpiece.

  7. DavidT says:

    Let’s hope that don’t do an FIA style deal where they give it away for a million years for next to nothing, only to find BCE behind the scenes pulling the strings and cleaning up once again.

  8. Alex Yarnell says:

    I really love Silverstone just as it is. It has genuine charm – even the F1 cars seem to have a unique sound around the track! However if it wer up to you what 5 thinks would you do to get Bernie excited about Silverstone again?

  9. rpaco says:

    If Silverstone is ring fenced as an asset how are they going to raise money?

    Well Dragons I’d like twentyfive million pounds please for zero percent of the business. Well actually if you create a new additional part of the business you can have a share of that.Yes we need new pits and stands (whaddaya mean that would be part of the ring-fenced Silverstone club assets, well build a few hotels and an infield golf course or something)

    They must either sell some land or give some of the assets. Otherwise it becomes debt leaning on a promise which is money for free. Oh wait the banks already did that and it all fell over.

    1. Martin Collyer says:

      Rpaco, your previous post on Tom Walkinshaw and the Trimoco BTCC, didn’t one of Tom’s Rovers (driven by Tom?, Jeff Allam? A.N.Other.) win the championship in the mid 1980s. It was then disqualified for running to the following years’ specification which allowed mods to wheel arch inners and therefore wider wheel rims and tyres.

      Then there were his Group A Jaguar XJS’s from earlier in the eighties which were about as Group A as a Group C Porsche 956. Allegedly!!!

      1. rpaco says:

        It was strongly rumoured that the Rover 3500 was in fact substantially overbored. Cant remember if Tom won or not, no one challenged him openly,but the whole paddock knew and once the stewards did ask him and he said “prove it, but your paying for the engine re-build” we heard no more! he was a big hefty intimidating lad.

        This was the early days and we had the famous James Weaver/Frank Sytner battles every race with huge wheel indents down the sides of both cars. The days of the Weaver trench at Silverstone when it was a proper full out track before they slowed it down with twiddly bits. When you could still buy a mug of tea and a bacon sarnie in the tin hut in the paddock. But what racing we saw, the nearest we have now is Plato and whoever dares. The entrance fee is more than the whole weekend used to cost. Yes I am a very old git!

        The octagon was the Bar at Brands I seem to remember, also chap who owned a Spitfire. (plane not car)
        Will also look up Tom/Octagon

      2. Martin Collyer says:

        Good to know that there is somebody out there who realises there is racing outside of F1.

        Should you ever decide to set up an ‘Old git’s racing club’, sign me up please. My first meeting, apparently, was Castle Combe in 1952,53,54? where Ken wharton won in a BRM V16.

        I say apparently because I was too young to be able to remember it, I have seen/heard a V16 in more recent times though when Nick Mason owned one of them.

        We’re well off-topic here bu never mind.

  10. monktonnik says:

    I guess they could sell the rights to operate a debenture scheme.

    It can’t fail.

  11. Rudy Pyatt says:

    Good on the BRDC for taking steps, but I don’t think it will matter where F1 is concerned. Not glam enough for Mr. E., and making it that way will just produce crushing debt and mounting losses. Bernie has already proven that he’s entirely unsentimental about history and tradition. No circuit can make a profit under his business model, least of all one without government support.

    If Bernie hadn’t spent the last 30 years trying to “Monaco” everything, we would still have a race at Watkins Glen, let alone at Indy after he soaked Tony George for cubic $$$. And don’t get me started on the abuse European venues have taken. Bernie wants to be near Paris? Let him lay out the cash to rebuild Monthlerey. Oh, sorry. Too much history there for that to happen.

    James, does ANY venue make a profit on F1 races, other than perhaps Monaco? Am I wrong in saying that government largesse is all that makes the current races financially viable?

    1. James Allen says:

      Silverstone makes a small profit, I think.

  12. rpaco says:

    Is there any truth in the rumour that the new Silverstone plans will include a harbour and a castle?

    1. James Allen says:

      And a moat…cleaned at the taxpayers’ expense?

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