Section: Silverstone (UK)

MotoGP: Silverstone steps in to host 2015 & 2016 British MotoGP

Silverstone will host the British MotoGP this year and in 2016 after Donington Park called off its agreement to provide the venue on 30 August.

Circuit of Wales signed a five-year deal to stage the race from 2015, but as the venue in Ebbw Vale has yet to be built, Donington agreed to host.

Donington said Circuit of Wales has not met agreed payment deadlines, but the latter denies the claims.

Silverstone, which hosted MotoGP from 2010 to 2014, will now host round 10.

The owners of Silverstone were “extremely disappointed” when their deal was not renewed after significant investment to allow the circuit to host MotoGP.

But on Wednesday, the Northamptonshire venue released a statement staying they had come to an arrangement with Circuit of Wales to host the race for two years while the Welsh venue was built.

“I welcomed the opportunity to meet with both [governing body] Dorna and Circuit of Wales recently so that we could try and find a way to keep MotoGP in the UK and racing at Silverstone,” said managing director of Silverstone Patrick Allen.

“Two-wheel racing is as much a part of Silverstone’s heritage as four-wheel racing and I am obviously delighted to be in a position to announce we are hosting both the F1 and MotoGP Grands Prix in 2015.”

On Tuesday, Donington Park said that as Circuit of Wales was unable to complete funding arrangements, the venue’s operational plans to host the race had been delayed and hosting the race had now become too much of a risk.

But Circuit of Wales said it had the funding in place but was unwilling to provide it “without a signed contractual agreement”.

Circuit of Wales was expected to be a purpose-built hub for the multi-billion pound British motorsport industry around a state-of-the art track.

However, the £315m project has been delayed with issues over common land and calls for the Welsh and UK governments to commit up to £50m towards the scheme.

Last month, it was announced that plans to build the venue in Ebbw Vale will go to a public enquiry in March.

The MotoGP season, with Honda’s Marc Marquez the defending champion, starts on 29 March in Qatar.

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: Mercedes completes shakedown of 2015 car

Mercedes has offered a glimpse its new car, the W06, during its track debut at a filming day at Silverstone.

The car is not set to be officially launched until the morning of the first day of testing on Sunday, but the team offered a series of teaser videos via its Twitter feed before publishing photos of the new car.

The W06 will be the car to beat this year after Mercedes dominated the championship in 2014. It hit the track at 13:13 and completed 18 laps before a blizzard cut the running short. Nico Rosberg went first but world champion Lewis Hamilton also got his first taste of the new car before the weather came in.

Both drivers will be back in action next week in Jerez, with Rosberg kicking off the test on Sunday and driving again on Tuesday while Hamilton will drive on Monday and Wednesday.

Read more at ESPN

Motorsport: BRDC completes Silverstone management restructure

The British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) has completed a major personnel restructure and installed a new management team at Silverstone.

Former managing director Richard Phillips and two fellow executives, Ed Brookes and David Thompson, were suspended in October while the BRDC completed an investigation into the running of the British Grand Prix venue. They have been replaced by Patrick Allen, the new managing director, who will be assisted by sporting director Stuart Pringle.

Allen says his main focus is on improving the customer aspect of the Silverstone venue.

“Silverstone has great potential to become the ultimate entertainment venue and with the support of the team I believe we can make it the place to go,” Allen said. “I want our customers to know that they can visit the circuit any weekend of the year and be guaranteed an amazing value for money experience whether that is to watch motor racing, visit a music concert, enjoy a food festival or attend an exhibition.”

The BRDC confirmed ticket sales for the 2015 British Grand Prix are up 16% on this time last year following Lewis Hamilton’s championship triumph. In a statement it also thanked the outgoing executives for their time at the circuit, which included the construction of the circuit’s Wing facility and renewal of its Formula One deal.

“This executive team has overseen significant growth and diversification of Silverstone’s business during its tenure, during which the Wing was built and the future of the British F1 Grand Prix secured,” BRDC chairman John Grant said. “I would like to thank them for their contributions to Silverstone and wish them well for the future.”

Read more at ESPN

BTCC: Plato’s Silverstone double sets up title decider

MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save driver Jason Plato scored two impressive Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship victories at Silverstone, ensuring there will be a title showdown at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time.

The home of British motor sport never fails to produce incredible racing, and a crowd of over 30,000 fans descended on the Northamptonshire venue to see the best tin-top drivers in the country battle it out around the National circuit.

For both wins Plato had to get past current championship leader Colin Turkington, making late dives down the inside at Brooklands corner on both occasions to steal some valuable points back from the eBay Motors BMW driver.

Airwaves Racing’s Mat Jackson completed the podium in the opening race, having jumped fellow second row starter Sam Tordoff off the line. MG’s Tordoff had to fend off the Chrome Edition Restart Racing duo of Alain Menu and Aron Smith to claim fourth.

With Plato leading home Turkington again in race two, it was this time left for Menu to join them on the rostrum after the Swiss star attacked Jackson through Copse before completing the move at Becketts shortly after the mid-distance stage of the contest.

The second race also saw one of the biggest accidents of the season when Rob Collard’s BMW barrel rolled several times before coming to rest upside down. The incident was sparked after he’d made contact with Jack Clarke’s recovering Ford Focus, which was in the midst of a high-speed slide on the exit of Becketts. A shaken and winded Collard was taken to hospital for precautionary X-rays but was released later on Sunday evening.

One of the most incredible touring car battles in recent years then played out when no fewer than five former BTCC champions went doorhandle-to-doorhandle in a bid for a podium finish in the final race.The race win went to the impressive Jackson – his second victory of the season – as the Motorbase driver nipped by team-mate Fabrizio Giovanardi in the early stages. Smith followed suit to claim a lonely second place while the epic scrap ensued behind.

Turkington eyed every opportunity to get past Giovanardi before finally making a concrete attempt at the end of lap 19, which launched a sensational sequence of events.

Giovanardi and Turkington touched while running side-by-side across the start/finish line, as the VW of Alain Menu also joined the fray. As the two squabbled over the same piece of asphalt Menu cleverly wedged his VW up the inside of both of them and into third place through Copse.

They were three abreast on the run down to Becketts before Plato made it four former champions in the fight. Plato’s MG then made contact with the rear of Turkington’s BMW at the tight turn, which speared the Ulsterman’s machine into Giovanardi’s Ford Focus. The Italian impressively saved the car from a wild slide but not before he had been bumped down the order.

It was three-wide again down the Wellington Straight with reigning champion Andrew Jordan now looking to join the party. As the cars roared into Brooklands it was Turkington who emerged in third place immediately followed by Plato, Menu and Jordan. The quartet were eventually covered by little more than a second as they finished the race.

The fallout from a fantastic weekend at Silverstone is that Turkington now holds a 50-point advantage in the Drivers’ standings over Plato and the two will now duel it out for the coveted BTCC title at Brands Hatch next month.

MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save is in the driving seat of the Manufacturers’ championship with Plato’s dynamic double extending its lead over Honda Yuasa Racing to 28 points.

Turkington and eBay Motors have now moved into unassailable leads in the Independents’ drivers and teams tables.


MotoGP: Circuit of Wales, Ebbw Vale gets MotoGP from 2016

A five-year deal has been signed to bring motorcycling’s British MotoGP to Wales.

It will be held at the new £315m Circuit of Wales race track in Blaenau Gwent which has yet to be built.

Land near Ebbw Vale will be transformed into the Circuit of Wales to host all but Formula 1 racing.

Next year’s event will take place elsewhere in Britain but it is hoped the circuit in Ebbw Vale will take on the remaining four years.

There is also an option for a further five years.

Heads of the Valleys Development Company says the circuit will bring 750,000 visitors a year to the area.

The project has been hit by delays with issues over common land and call for the Welsh and UK governments to commit up to £50m towards the scheme.

“Our agreement with [commercial rights holders] 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.”

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