New £29m circuit in Northern Ireland gets go-ahead

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A new £29million track in Northern Ireland has been granted planning permission by Mid Ulster District Council.

The Lake Torrent circuit is set to be built on a former clay pit site in Coalisland, 40 minutes from Belfast.

Bosses of the 2.23-mile, 12-turn circuit hope to attract major series like the British Touring Car Championship and the World Superbike Championship to the venue.

It is planned that work on the Lake Torrent circuit will be completed in the spring of 2019 and a breaking ground ceremony is due to take place next week.

The design of the privately-funded circuit has been penned by Driven International – the company also working on Silverstone’s new rallycross track.

“We’ve been working on this for the last year,” Driven managing director Ben Willshire, who has worked on the circuit design with project director Ramzi Darghouth, told Motorsport.com. “It’s going to be the first real international-level racing circuit in Northern Ireland.

“It’s a former quarry so we’ve been quite fortunate in being able to shape the topography of the track and it’s very undulating with 30 metres of elevation changes over the circuit.

“We’re trying to keep it like a traditional European circuit and we’ve got a mix of high speed corners and technical sequences. The next step will be to integrate some feedback from the FIA and FIM on the track – they suggested some minor tweaks.”

Planning permission for the track was given at a council meeting last week and just seven people registered objections to its construction.

But noise restrictions will limit the venue to only 12 days of racing per year with a maximum of four Saturday and Sunday meetings allowed.

Lake Torrent will become the third track in Northern Ireland, alongside Kirkistown and the rarely-used Bishopscourt venue.

The news comes just months after another new track – the Circuit of Wales – was denied council funding, leaving it unlikely that construction will ever begin on the £433million project.

Stephen Lickorish

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