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.”