Crunch time for Circuit of Wales

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The Circuit of Wales project has reached a critical point, with the next 24 hours being key to whether the ambitious project in South Wales will go ahead or not.

The crunch comes from the imminent closure of the Welsh Assembly ahead of May’s elections – and with no public funding yet committed to the project, there is now a deadline of Thursday for the money to be granted.

Local media are reporting that the delay comes in the face of legal advice received by the devolved government on whether the project counts as a race circuit or as a larger regional regeneration scheme.

There has been fierce opposition to the project receiving public funding from the bosses of other circuits, with then-Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips writing to the Prime Minister in 2014 to express his concerns.

“An injection of funds by the Welsh and/or UK governments to the Circuit of Wales project would amount to a transfer of state resources, which gives Circuit of Wales an economic and selective advantage over other circuits. As such, it could amount to illegal state aid.”

And while private funding has already been committed by insurance giant Aviva, the South Wales Argus are reporting that they may withdraw their support if the additional £32 million of public money is not pledged to their £350 million of funding.

Despite building work not yet having commenced, the Circuit of Wales holds the rights to host the British round of MotoGP until 2020, with an option to extend until 2025.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer