Owners of the Silverstone have brought a takeover of the historic racing circuit by Jaguar Land Rover a huge step closer by giving the thumbs up to a potential deal.
As exclusively revealed in December, the Midland car giant has made a bid for the circuit, home to the British Grand Prix, thought to be valued at almost £23 million.
Members of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), which owns the track, have now voted in favour of further exploring the deal.
JLR has confirmed its interest in Silverstone but said it was at an early stage.
It wants to create a five-star hotel, JLR heritage centre, a motor industry museum, a vehicle design workshop, offices and a visitor centre at the world-famous Northamptonshire venue.
A statement from the BRDC confirmed members had backed negotiations to conclude a deal which would “preserve Silverstone as the UK’s premier racing circuit”.
It adds: “The potential deal, which will only be completed if the board can agree terms with JLR that it believes to be in the best interests of the BRDC, would align Silverstone with two premier British brands and put the BRDC on a stronger financial footing.
“The board will reflect on a wide range of views expressed by members during the EGM in determining its next steps.”
A JLR spokesman said: “Jaguar Land Rover regularly evaluates opportunities to support its long-term and sustainable growth in the UK.
“As part of this, we are exploring potential options at Silverstone with the British Racing Driver’s Club, but it is too soon to share details at this stage.”
It is understood any agreement would allow Silverstone to remain the home of UK motorsport, with events like the Formula One Grand Prix, MotoGP, World Superbikes and the British Touring Car Championship remaining in the hands of Silverstone Circuits.
The Jaguar Land Rover Heritage experience
Automotive sector expert David Bailey, professor of industry at Aston University, said it was a common sense evolution for JLR.
Prof Bailey said: “I think it is a positive move. Jaguar Land Rover is growing very quickly, its office functions have expanded, and needs more space.
“For customers, in terms of the experience side of buying a Jaguar or Land Rover, it could be great.
“They could go and pick a car up and experience driving a classic Jaguar or Land Rover on a track or wherever.”
He added: “Silverstone is the centre of the high-tech motorsport industry in the UK and Jaguar Land Rover is moving into motorsport – in particular Formula E – so it makes sense on a number of fronts.
“For Jaguar Land Rover having operations based at Silverstone adds to the kudos of the brand and its history and heritage and I think it makes sense.”
I understand JLR has major plans for Silverstone, including using it as a base for up to 1,000 sales and marketing staff and 700 engineers. The plans also include:
- A special workshop for vehicle specification and handover to VIPs
- A 200-bedroom five-star hotel
- A visitor centre for brand experience and training, including 4x4 off-roading
- A heritage centre, including space to store and display the JLR Heritage Fleet
- Museums celebrating British motor heritage.