The company behind the project, the Heads of the Valleys Development Company (HOTVDC) has also confirmed that Martin Whitaker has been appointed chief executive of Circuit for Wales
The identity of the financial backers of the £315m Circuit of Wales motor sport racetrack and associated automotive technology park could be known within weeks after confirmation that they have signed exclusivity contracts with the company behind the ambitious project.
With planning consent for the scheme already in place the last hurdle for the project has been cleared with the Welsh Government signing off the de-registration of 830 acres of common land for the project, which will create 6,000 new jobs at Rassau in Blaenau Gwent.
The aim is to have the track completed for the circuit to stage the British MotoGP in 2017. The entire development will be completed in 2020.
As well as entering into a exclusivity phase with financial institutions the company behind the project, the Heads of the Valleys Development Company (HOTVDC) has also confirmed that Martin Whitaker has been appointed the chief executive of Circuit of Wales.
Mr Whitaker helped to deliver the first Formula 1 race at the Bahrain International Circuit and has worked for the sport’s governing body, the Federation Internationale de l’ Automobile.
HOTVDC is seeking to raise around £200m in equity funding and some £85m in debt financial for the project. The Welsh Government has also in principle committed a further £30m thorough a combination of loans and repayable finance.
Subject to completion of the various due diligence processes, the identity of the project’s financial backers and the timetable for construction is expected to be clarified in a matters of weeks.
With sign off on the construction and finance contracts work on the project could start before Christmas.Michael Carrick, CEO of Heads of the Valleys Development Company inspects a 3D model of The Circuit of Wales
Chief executive of HOTVDC Michael Carrick will now focus on managing the financial aspects of the project following the appointment of Mr Whitaker as CEO of Circuit of Wales.
Mr Carrick said: “Martin’s track record speaks for itself as he is one of the few men operating at the top level of international motor sport whose experience covers almost every facet of the sport.
“Martin has managed a modern Formula 1 venue at the Bahrain International Circuit, worked for both the sport’s governing body the Federation Internationale de l’Autombile (FIA) and its commercial rights holder, plus the UK’s governing body the RAC Motor Sports Association.
“Additionally, he has led a major motor manufacturer’s competition department and one of the world’s most celebrated racing series.
“The Circuit of Wales is already gaining experience and knowledge through our role as promoter of the British MotoGP.
” As we now focus our attentions on the build phase of the project, Martin’s guidance and experience will be invaluable in realising its potential as a catalyst for investment in the local economy and across the motor sport industry in Britain.”
Mr Whitaker said: “It is with enormous excitement that I look forward to working with Michael and the team at the Circuit of Wales to deliver this unique project for the British motor sport industry, the automobile industry and the people of Blaenau Gwent.
“I am passionate about the economic and social benefits that a venue such as the Circuit of Wales will bring, and firmly believe that the time is ripe for this development, not only as an amazing entertainment and leisure centre but also as an invaluable resource for the entire British motor sport and automotive industry.”
The projectArtist’s impression of main track at the Circuit of Wales
- The main race track, 3.5 miles in length, has been designed to stage any level of international motor sport.
- Additional smaller circuits for karting, motocross and 4×4.
- Motor sports and automotive testing facilities, including a driver training centre and automotive proving ground, are also planned.
- A technology park and incubator, providing for research and development and support services across the automotive, clean-tech and high value engineering sectors, will also feature. The technology and industry park could provide up to one million sq ft in space, but will need planning approval.
- There are also plans for a 30 megawatt solar park from Chinese firm Hanergy, as well as two hotels.
HOTVDC said when completed the project, above Ebbw Vale and in one of the most economically deprived areas of the UK, will create 6,000 full-time jobs and attract 750,000 visitors a year.
During the construction period around 3,000 jobs will be supported. It is projected that it will provide a £50m injection into the Welsh economy annually.