Welsh ‘Super circuit’ gets green light.
A new ‘super’ track to be erected in South Wales has finally been approved by Blaenau Gwent Council, with the intention of hosting MotoGP and leading motorsport categories.
The Circuit of Wales will cost somewhere in the region of 280 million pounds to construct, with The Heads of the Valleys Development Company (HVDC) being granted permission for the project and represents one of the UK’s largest privately led capital investment motorsport projects.
HVDC chief executive, Michael Carrick said: “It is a hugely important development, not just fro the re-generation of Blaenau Gwent but also for the UK economy… creating 3,000 jobs during construction and 4,000 to 6,000 once the track is finished.”
HVDC’s forecast is that the facility will attract three-quarters of a million visitors each year; reportedly generating 50 million pounds for the UK economy.
The innovative scheme hopes to provide unrivalled opportunities in job creation, tourism, and research and development. The circuit will be located north of Ebbw Vale close to the Rassau Industrial Estate. The £250m development will span 830 acres and represent the most significant capital investment programme in automotive and motor sports infrastructure in the UK in the last 50 years.
The proposed circuit itself is a 3.5 mile track covering the undulated and rugged territory of Ebbw Vale. An artist’s impression shows radical elevations which ( if taken at face value) could pose a problem for modern Formula One cars, but represent one of the most exciting tracks in the UK; exerting more pressure on current top-flight circuits like Silverstone.
In addition to the main circuit there will also be a low carbon technology park adjacent to the circuit to cater for higher specification research, development and support services in the automotive sector, an international karting track, a 4×4 circuit and a Motocross track that will be accessible to the community.
There will also be hotel and leisure facilities along with a series of commercial units, plus a leading motor sports race academy and training facility to assist the development of young Welsh, British and European elite riders and drivers. The facility will also host international race schools and provide wider safety and driver education and training.
Despite some opposition to the project; claiming the track could propose an ‘unacceptable environmental risk’, the Circuit of Wales plans deliver an unrivalled low carbon international motor sports facility in Wales and was detailed in 23 community consultations across Blaenau Gwent from August 2012 to May 2013. In this regard, the HVDC plans to recycle and process materials on site and produce energy for current side- development from one of the largest Solar Parks in the UK – utilising Hydro Electric Technology and Heat Exchange Geothermal Energy.
In keeping with the sustainability theme, the company says that the circuit will place an emphasis on electric motorsport; something the FIA will be keen to see develop given their investment in Formula E. The Circuit of Wales project itself has the support of the FIA Institute (focussing on motorsport safety and sustainability).
Images courtesy of http://circuitofwales.com/
Trent Price is an amateur race driver, former V8 race coach and FIA Accredited journalist from Melbourne, Australia. A former Race Editor for GP Week and contributor for ESPN, Trent is now the Editor of the WEC/Formula E magazine E-Racing; www.e-racingmag.com