The British Racing Drivers& ...
The British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) held a presentation at Silverstone Circuit on Tuesday (20 March), outlining proposals for a Silverstone Master Plan which, out of its own resources, the BRDC is determined to take through the planning process.
Attended by Sports Minister, the Rt. Hon Richard Caborn MP, and BRDC President and 1996 Formula One World Champion, Damon Hill, the presentation was made to a select number of guests which included heads of local County Councils, District Councils, planners, higher education authorities and Regional Development Agencies.
The presentation was also supported by Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, and Spencer Canning, Development Director, who were presenting on behalf of the BRDC, while Richard Caborn was invited to contribute his views on the future developments of Silverstone.
Richard Caborn spoke enthusiastically about Silverstone becoming a Centre of Excellence, providing future opportunities for education, skilled jobs and tourism. Formulated by Spencer Canning and a property advisory committee of BRDC members, the Silverstone Master Plan has the full backing of the Club and, to date, informal meetings have already taken place with Aylesbury Vale District Council and South Northants District Council, who govern the land on which Silverstone Circuit is based.
The purpose of Tuesdays meeting was to speed up the process of moving the Master Plan from an initial concept, through to its early adoption, thus releasing value from the Silverstone Estate in order to provide the financial means for the BRDC to implement necessary works required to retain the British Grand Prix at Silverstone beyond 2009.
In addition to developing and improving circuit facilities, the Silverstone Master Plan will enable Silverstone to realise its ambition of becoming more than a Grand Prix Circuit, and retain its position at the heart of motorsport valley. The long term objective is to expand its function and relevance to motorsport, leading technologies, education and training and, finally, to ensure that the UK continues to be the global leader in these specialist areas.
Included in the Silverstone Master Plan are concepts of new grandstands, new pit and paddock facilities, a science park, a manufacturer test centre, a small amount of residential development, and a hotel and conference resource. In addition, plans have already been submitted for Porsche Cars GB to develop a Porsche Driver Training Facility at the east of the circuit, while the Silverstone Study Centre, jointly funded by Silverstone Circuits Limited, Northamptonshire County Council and the Department for Education and Skills, has been operating since September 2006.
Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, commented, Over the last 60 years Great Britain has taken the lead in motorsport technology from the Italians, Germans and French. Silverstone sits at the heart of motorsport valley, which is made up of over 2,400 businesses - 40% of the motorsport cluster - and employs the highest concentration of engineering excellence in the world."
Governments around the world are recognising the importance of motorsport in their economic mix and we need to create the right environment to develop a Centre of Excellence that encompasses education; research and development; manufacturing and design; and lateral integration with other high tech industries, such as the automotive and aerospace industries. If we can achieve these targets we will secure our position at the top of this high tech sector, and offer sustainable growth for the entire region.
Speaking about the significance of the British Grand Prix, Phillips continued, Maintenance of Grand Prix racing at Silverstone is an essential ingredient in the growth of motorsport valley. 70% of our business activity is directly attributable to events, of which 85% is Grand Prix related. To change this balance we have to develop the estate and allow a wider diversification of business types to come to Silverstone."
Beyond the development it is very necessary for the core business to be allowed to grow and flourish. We must diversify our activities; raise our game with state-of-the-art facilities; excite new audiences to our venue; and build a sustainable business in order to minimise the risks associated with the cost of Grand Prix Racing. Only then will we able to afford it, and will UK PLCs benefit.
Richard Caborn, Minister for Sport, said: "Silverstone is a world leader in many ways and should not be underestimated. The Master Plan really builds on the Silverstone brand and shows a great deal of potential. It outlines the beginnings of a major Centre of Excellence that will rank up there with any in the world helping to ensure the supply chain to this sector is maintained for years to come."
"The Master Plan is not only important to Silverstone and its continued hosting of the British Grand Prix, but also the development of the sport in this country. It gives a real opportunity to British Motorsport to realise its ambitions in the not too distant future." Damon Hill commented.
Our objective is to continue with development and improvements to keep up with the incredible pace, not only of Grand Prix racing, but of development generally in the automotive business. I dont think you can underestimate the effect the Grand Prix has on the environment and the industries; employment and also on the country. We very much hope that after today we can move forward to make Silverstone a place we can be really proud of in this country, not just for the BRDC, but also for the UK to beam motorsport and our event around the world."
It is a fantastic thing to be a British Grand Prix driver and win your home Grand Prix, so we would very much like, as a Racing Drivers Club, which the BRDC is, for that opportunity to be there for future generations.