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Bournemouth launches bid to host Formula E race

A bid for Bournemouth to host a Formula E round for three years, starting in 2023, has been launched with the aim of putting the town on “the global map”.

Created by the Wessex Entrepreneurs group, the bid aims to use the “backdrop” of a Formula E race to stimulate business growth and showcase the seaside town as a “gateway to an international Dorset”.

The proposal is for a clockwise street circuit on the seafront that would ideally host a double-header round of the series for an initial three-year bid running from 2023 to 2026.

As part of a week-long “festival” that also encompasses music and cultural elements, a tandem business conference would contribute to the creation of a projected 250 to 3000 jobs.

According to an article posted by the Bournemouth Echo, the nascent race’s main backer Tony Williams said: “We are selling it as a British Monaco.

“The only way you can protect jobs is to have a vibrant local economy, which is where the eGrand Prix focuses itself - it will be a centre for sustainability.

“The eGrand Prix is the thing that opens the door to a world that Dorset needs to be in and be active in.

“The county has been in decline for the last few years.

“We are trying to make the quantum leap back, using Bournemouth as the gateway and Formula E as the flag to wave to the world and to help rejuvenate the rest of Dorset.

“It will require the public sector and the private sector working together in the same room - that has never been done before.”

The initial circuit layout put forward by Wessex Entrepreneurs runs for approximately 3.4- miles, taking in a series of roundabouts and a section of the A338 as it runs past Bournemouth Pier and the Royal Bath hotel.

Dorset already has ties to electric motorsport, with the Bovington military base stepping up to host the final round of the inaugural Extreme E season in December - following the COVID-19-related cancellation of the Argentinian and Brazilian rounds.

Due to the pandemic pushing back the return of a London Formula E race, with the ExCeL Centre’s “multi-year” deal to host the championship only getting off the ground in 2021, a Bournemouth event would likely overlap should it get the green light.

While the commercial case for a Formula E race in Bournemouth might prove viable for the local council, it is at odds with the championship’s own ambitions to race in ‘Tier One’ cities such as New York City, Paris and Rome.

The Wessex Entrepreneurs group’s plans join the likes of Formula-Eindhoven, a stalling Dutch-based bid that would give Robin Frijns and newly crowned world champion Nyck de Vries a home race.

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