Funding Appears for Circuit of Wales - MotoGP at Track from 2018

The Circuit of Wales is edging ever closer to becoming a reality. BBC Wales is reporting that UK insurance giant Aviva will be backing the Circuit of Wales project, and providing funds to allow building work on the track near Ebbw Vale in South Wales to start. Construction will take some time, however, and Silverstone will continue to host the British round of MotoGP for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, the race only moving to the Circuit of Wales from 2018 onwards.

The news that Aviva is to provide financial backing for the Circuit of Wales still leaves many questions unanswered. It is not clear from the reports by BBC Wales exactly how much money Aviva will be putting into the track. The circuit needs £300 million in private investment, on top of roughly £30 million in public funding in the form of loans. Whether Aviva will be providing the full £300 million for the Circuit of Wales, or sufficient seed money for building work to start is unclear. 

Senior management at the circuit told BBC Wales that they were close to securing full funding. The project's CEO Martin Whitaker told the BBC that financial negotiations were at a very advanced stage, and they expected to be able to make a full announcement soon. Once those details have been finalized, then a complete timeline for construction of the project would be announced.

Even once funding is in place, the circuit will still face formidable challenges. The provision of public funds for the circuit is certain to come under attack from other tracks in the UK, none of which receive public money. Jonathan Palmer, head of MSV, which owns several UK tracks including Brands Hatch, and the driving force behind the British Superbike championship, has stated publicly that MSV will challenge the provision of public funds to the Circuit of Wales.

There are practical problems too. A 600mm high pressure gas line, which supplies a large portion of South Wales, crosses the site, and the environmental plan imposes several severe conditions on dealing with the gas pipeline, demanding that large groups of people are kept more than 195m away from the pipeline, and that building be done with care.

That is the type of detail which will be dealt with during the due diligence phase, in which financial negotiations currently find themselves. According to the BBC Wales story, that phase should be completed soon. Once it is, we shall soon find out just how solid the financial basis for the circuit is.

Back to top

Comments

Jonathan Palmer is one of the most intelligent men it's ever been my privilege to chat with!
I have little doubt that he will challenge this with every fibre of his being --- and oddly enough I find that rather sad!
We need a good, world class track in the UK.
Donington is a fantastic track --- with the most abysmal facilities I've come across!
Silverstone has fantastic facilities but very little to stir the soul!

We NEED the Circuit of Wales ---
--- and more than that -- we need it to be a success!

Still highly unlikely to happen, how is it going to make all that money back, and how can an insurance company spend all its profits on that without any chance of making a return. It cant get 300 million of advertising of a couple of events per year.

I can get to Brno, Barcelona, Valencia, Mugello and Misano quicker than I can get to Ebbw Vale.
Decisions decisions.

I'm very surprised that the CoW are discussing their sponsorship before the contract has been signed. They're going to look a right load of nobs if Aviva pull out.

It is inevitable that cynics and naysayers pile in to criticise something like this.
Albert is correct. The UK needs this.
The circuit income is planned to come mainly from commercial activities related to vehicle design and development. Racing is the icing on the cake.
A HP gas main is a minor but (relative to low pressure) expensive thing to deal with. When did one last blow up? I've never heard of it. It can probably be built over rather than diverted as long as buildings are not planted on top of or close to it. there are strict rules on this, and also about the time of year it can be done (not in winter when loads are high). Roads and railways cross these things all over the UK. It's a non-issue, just needs some cash, and not that much in the scheme of things.
Weather? It's the UK....not renowned for beach holidays. Misano it isnt. It might just be a slightly damp Mugello, or a fast and safe Laguna Seca.
Access? Silverstone is the benchmark by road, otherwise its no different to most other circuits in the UK or anywhere else for that matter. If Americans can be expected to travel to Texas, CoW is on the doorstep of Europe, never mind the UK.
Palmer should be worried because up until now he's had little direct competition for his bread and butter. He is clever though,and has been very good for UK circuits, so I hope he survives and prospers too. The subsidies are about jobs in the motor industry, not just sport, so his arguments are not likely to be easy ones to win. Silverstone got its publicly-funded road improvements after some heavy lobbying - that wasn't coincidental improvement either.
As long as the roads and public transport are up to scratch it should be good. If the facilities can match or improve on Silverstone it will be great.
I'm not aware of any circuit anywhere that makes significant profits based purely on motor sport (as opposed to motor business - see the US Miller Motorsports Park). That someone is brave and committed enough to try to do this for us should be celebrated. Cautious optimism, yes, but optimism is required.

just check out what happened to rockingham speedway in the uk.. quite central and not a bad track albeit predominantly a nas car circuit,
there really is no major events held there
it costed many millions to build and is just not getting used anywhere near enough
unless cow build an absolute barn stormer of a track for riders and punters then i see a big waist of time and money.
still i guess there'd be plenty of opportunity for track days.