The Circuit of Wales has today announced a five-year deal with the owners of MotoGP – Dorna – to host the British GP, taking the reins from Silverstone.
The only problem for the Circuit of Wales is that they don't yet have a circuit built, with the development site located north of Ebbw Vale, close to the Rassau Industrial Estate, still being a green-field site, replete with grazing sheep.
While the £280m development will eventually span the 830-acre site, there is no chance of the circuit, facilities, and infrastructure being in place for 2015.
As a result the Heads of the Valleys Development Company behind the Circuit of Wales will now have to negotiate with Silverstone or Donington Park – the only existing logical host circuits – to run the 2015 meeting, ahead of the completion of their own circuit.
Dorna announced that The Circuit of Wales will host the British round from 2015, with an option to extend the contract to 2024.
“Our agreement with Dorna is a significant landmark in the development of the Circuit of Wales,” said Michael Carrick, Chief Executive of the Circuit of Wales.
“MotoGP is the pinnacle of global motorcycle racing and expectations within the series and of its millions of fans worldwide are for a truly world class event at iconic and state-of-the art venues.
"We look forward to meeting those expectations when we welcome MotoGP to Wales from 2016 and we are now working closely with Dorna and the FIM, MotoGP’s governing body, with regard to the 2015 British round of the MotoGP World Championship.”
Carmelo Ezpeleta, the Chief Executive Officer of Dorna Sport S.L., commented: “We are excited to be working closely with the Circuit of Wales after being involved with the project for more than four years.
"The commitment to MotoGP is obviously a catalyst to a wide range of exciting projects aimed at contributing to the regeneration of the area, while we work together with MotoGP governing body the FIM in relation to the full homologation of the circuit.”
Ezpeleta continued: “The commitment to youth, to employment opportunities for the area, to its academy plans – linked to our own FIM CEV Repsol series – and the general investment in motorsport infrastructure will ensure very exciting times are ahead for Blaenau Gwent and the surrounding areas.”
The first phase of the multi-purpose development will be the construction of an international specification motor racing circuit and facilities, hotel, commercial and retail complexes. The facility is designed to host international motorsport events and will be a centre for motorsport-related industries.
Plans include a 3.5-mile track that takes advantage of the natural flow of the unique topography of the area, an indoor academy training facility, motocross, trials and enduro venues, an international kart circuit and driver training facilities as well as a variety of leisure and cultural amenities.
The automotive park will be one of the world’s leading sustainable developments, targeting the growth of low-carbon industries and events. It will be a hub for research and development companies that are seeking to push the boundaries in environmental technology and energy solutions. The park will showcase the latest technologies that capture and generate energy for the facility.
The race academy and training facility to develop future Welsh and UK talent will work in unison with the motor racing circuit and with Dorna. Commercial, industrial and leisure developments will be at the heart of the project, providing opportunities for the growth of advanced engineering, technology, education and sustainable transport-related businesses.