11/20/2013 - UK's Historic Silverstone Sold To Unnamed Buyer
Aerial view of Silverstone, the historic circuit that's the site of Formula 1's British Grand Prix (photo: courtesy f1fanatic.co.uk)
Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix and owned by the British Racing Drivers Club, is being sold for just a tad more than $16 million, a pittance compared to the cost of comparable motorsport facilities that of late approach $400 million or more to construct.
According to British press reports, the BRDC, comprised of some 800 top motorsport figures including F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, has signed a pact to sell the circuit business, Silverstone Circuits Ltd., in tandem with a lease of 467 acres of track-related land. It had previously been confirmed that in a separate deal, property group MEPC had in September paid $51 million for a 999-year lease on 280 acres of land surrounding the 3.66-mile circuit.
Two years ago the BRDC had invested some $55 million building a new pits and paddock complex called The Wing, which was part of an upgrade that secured BRDC's effort to solidify a 17-year contract with F1 to host the British GP starting in 2010. Interest on the construction loan helped the track operate at a $5.3 million loss in 2012. A BRDC spokesman told the Independent that if the club had not spent the funds to improve the circuit, it would not have nailed down the 17-year contract with F1 and the circuit would have no value.
The British GP gets no state subsidies, and it's known that escalation clauses in F1 contracts with promoters habitually increase the tracks' sanctioning fee paid to F1 by 5% annually.
The new owner's identity has not been revealed. The Telegraph reported that the new owner is believed to be a real estate firm, and that it would subsequently be the promoter of the British GP. In addition, the master plan for Silverstone includes construction of a new business park, a technology hub, education campus and three hotels. For more information, go to: www.silverstone.co.uk