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Plans for Circuit of Wales gets go ahead
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Jul 2013   |  12:13 pm GMT  |  37 comments

Wales is on course to have a new purpose-built racing track, which aims to attract major international motor racing events, after the council approved plans for the development.

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council agreed plans for the £280m 3.5-mile track – called the Circuit of Wales – in Ebbw Vale.

It will be built on an 830-acre site in the scenic Welsh valleys and will be co-funded by the Welsh government and through private investment.

The venue is targeting events such as MotoGP, World Superbikes, World Motorcross and World Touring Cars.

CEO of Dorna, the company which runs MotoGP, Carmelo Ezpeleta said: “It’s fantastic. I think this is a very important programme for MotoGP and for motor sport in general.

“It is good for the area and good for the community, and the team behind it will have whatever help they need from us. We have already been working with them and we will continue to do so.”

Alongside the circuit, the venue will also feature a Motorcross track, an international-level karting circuit and off-road driving facilities. The track will also have a race academy and training facility to develop future Welsh and UK talent.

There will also be a technology park for research, development and support services in the automotive and motorsport sectors as well as a hotel and retail outlets to ensure the site is multi-functional.

Work is due to begin in late-2013 with completion due between 2015 and 2016.

The Heads of the Valleys Development company estimate the track will attract around 750,000 people each year, generating around £50m per year for the local economy.

Up to 3,000 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the development plus another 4000- 6000 once the site is up and running.

Professor Garel Rhys from Cardiff Business School said: “This development is a modern 21st century facility that is going to push the boundaries of sustainable automotive development in Wales and the UK.

“It is hugely important, not just for the regeneration of the Blaenau Gwent area but also to position South Wales as one of the leading automotive industry centres in the UK.”

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I am a fan of endurance racing. Attended Le Mans for decades until I went to Spa Francorchamps in 2002. Been every year since. First thing I thought as I approached the circuit was how similar that area is to the Heads of the Valleys. Seriously hope this scheme gets off the ground. If its built right it could challenge Spa’s most beautiful reputation. Hope they plant loads of trees around the area which would go a long way to alleviate some peoples concerns regarding bogginess.


Be much better off in investing in Pembrey. It was Senna’s favourite track for a reason.

Yes it’s a bit short for today’s needs and the facilities need an upgrade – but there is a great team there.

I marshal there regularly and all the racing series’ that use the track know that there is an excellent and closed knit community of marshals and circuit staff there.

Alternatively there is the seemingly little used, but very scenic Anglesey circuit which could also be much better used.

I’m all for development – but we should be investing and using the tracks we’ve got rather than building more


Fantastic! Looks a bit like Spa!


So, they don’t want Formula One? Compared to F1, MotoGP has got quite a few good tracks with grandstands that are NOT empty for the entire weekend. MotoGP has only got three venues which shouldn’t be on the calendar (Indianapolis, Texas, and Silverstone), I don’t understand why they replaced Donnington with Silverstone, and the two American tracks should never have got on the calendar anyway.


Silverstone got on the calendar because they paid more money to host the race than Donnington were offering. Donnington is probably the best bike circuit in the UK but Moto GP is no different to F1 in disregarding that for cold, hard cash.


Completely agree with you.

Drop Indy

Drop silverstone

Back to Donnington

Replace Indy with argentine track


This is great new for the UK and Europe. However I fear Bernie. One day he says he is hosting a race there. And the next day he changes his mind and we have a race in the middle of nowhere. And we´re stuck with an empty truck.


It’s not going to host F1. Aside from the fact it’s in the middle of nowhere, Silverstone has a contract for the next 15 years. Looks like they are aiming to hold BTCC/F3/GT/Superbikes there. That seems possible as these formulas already do the rounds of the existing UK circuits.


Difficult to believe this isn’t a wind-up story but its not April 1st..

Why would anyone build a race circuit in Ebbw Vale? awful transport connections, no international airport, rains so much (it actually does though!) Worked in the area few years back.

This is the most bizarre story I have read in months, why not sort Donnington out instead of investing taxpayers money in a folley..

Be interested in some Welsh views as I know Ebbw Vale needs support but is this the way? The numbers just don’t stack up either how would a racetrack and industrial park generate 6,000 jobs..


Ebbw Vale is about 20 minutes away from me, be great to have the facility but there’s a risk that it would fail to live up to its promises. Theres a lot of pride in Wales but throwing endless money at developments seems to be their answer for everything. Just look at the great white elephant that is the LG semiconduc tor plant.

I hope it pays off, they always overstate the jobs created aspect but if the curcuit can secure fixtures it will be fantastic.


4000-6000 jobs when the circuit is up and running? That seems like a lot.


Yes, sounds a bit OTT…I live near Aintree Racecourse which attracts around 200 000 spectators annually, mostly for the Grand National…they only have around 25 full time staff..for the Grand National they bring in around 3000 temporary staff(mostly security stewards and catering staff) but this is again only the equivalent of 25 full time permanent posts. Be interesting to see where they have got these figures from?


Thats how many it will take to keep the stray sheep off the track !


Crikey – it looks really hilly – you can tell its Wales! 😉


This looks incredible, the elevation changes alone are stunning, then you factor in the twistes and the view…not to mention the weather implications!!!

Any news on who the designers are? Looks so far superior to the usual Tilke tracks (although to be fair the last 2 have been pretty great). What’s the best way for them to get Bernie interested? Also, any news on whether it would be up to F1 standards? I know MotoGP are just as exacting but have a different set of criteria?


The designers are ‘big name’ company Populous, the international company that did the work on Silverstone.


Obviously not going to pull in a grand prix, but I wonder if DTM is a possibility?


One of the other interesting features of this new circuit is that it’s not another boring Herman Tilke designed track so passing may actually be possible without having to resort to gimmicky aids!


Have you ever watched a Moto race on a Tilke track, e.g. Sepang, or just F1 ??

The Tilke-dromes are built for passing on bikes.

It’s only F1 that has/HAD the problem.


Yes I have, the bikes do indeed fare better than the cars but most of the riders are not Tilke track fans either and cannot be compared to the challenge of older, classic circuits.


What a waste of money. This will just be an even bigger white elephant than Rockingham. Typcial of these subsidised regions, giving away UK tax payers money for glory headlines. I mean £ 2mil just so they can develop their plans on paper !!!

Then realise they can’t fool enough private investors to stump up the cash for it..


The track design looks stunning!


it would be better to upgrade the brilliant pembrey circuit rather than just build another track


Am i the only one that is happy for this new? I think it’s great…and track doesn’t look bad

Mike from Colombia

Will England also end up paying for this ?


A strategic central location . . . ?

Adding to the charm of the scenic Welsh Valley . . . ?


The area is a windswept, boggy wasteland at the moment. Used by the local MX boys to muck about on. Quite possibly the worst place to put a track on. It’ll have no end of subsidence problems and be broken into most nights to be used by the boy racers that haunt the valley already.

It’ll also take decades to get built (if ever!), they’ve taken 12 years to do the Heads Of The Valleys road that was meant to be finished two years ago. They’re on part 3 of 6 so far!!

I would love a new track in Wales, but this is not the place to put it!!

PS I work in Ebbw Vale!!


I totally disagree. It’s got good link roads with cardiff, m4, etc etc and think it will be excellent not just for local people but Wales and uk as a whole


I’m not saying that Ebbw Vale is the wrong place. Far form it! The road links will be good when they finish the Heads Of The Valley rebuilding work. There is a good customer base in the valleys and Bristol area. Pembrey is reasonably well attended, the road races at Aberdare are always packed, any rally event is well attended. The area is in desperate need of quality jobs. But that doesn’t change the fact that the site is the wrong choice. There were better options the other side of town that were rejected. Instead they went for a boggy site that will always be at the mercy of the notoriously wet weather and strong winds. The site is at 1300 feet with nothing in the way for miles so any weather front passing through will hit it hard.

I would love a circuit locally capable of hosting touring cars, bikes, GT’s and the like and would be a regular visitor if it gets built. Good luck to them getting the project finished but there are problems to overcome. I would hate to see it fail before it’s finished. Just remember the site was rejected for housing due to the ground conditions by a few developers. They will usually build on anything!!


I’m not familiar with the area –

but always suspicious of marketing hype . . .

So thanks for geographical reality check!


They had a prime bit if land the other end of town where the steelworks used to be. Had a bit of elevation to play with and was tucked in the bottom of the valley so would avoid the worst of the weather (it’s not unusual for it to be raining ‘up top’ and dry in the valley). That’s now a hospital, college and car park.

Oh and these plans have been kicking around for a good decade and have been changed many times. Doesn’t bode well!!


Fantastic – I imagine a circuit with a lot of undulations, and what a backdrop to set it against. I hope they build a sweeping, quick track instead of a fiddly, technical layout


Cymru am byth!!!


Whilst I sympathise with the need for investment in the area, this is not it.

We have enough under-utilised motorsport venues where the investment could be better targeted for greater benefit.


I was just thinking as I was reading the article that the UK was in desperate need of another track.


A world-class, drivers’ circuit capable of hosting F1 perhaps but not one costing £280m, in the middle of nowhere and still not up to F1 standard. Why not spend half as much improving Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Donington or Rockingham in terms of facilities and sustainability?


Silverstone prob the worst of British race trqcks Donnington and Brands Hatch are good. Silverstone had loads of money pumped into it yet no really big changes. No real need for is be of F1 standards as not enough profit from f1

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