Are you for the development or are you against it? Initial discussion with fans seems to reveal this is a Marmite project – no half measures, either love it or hate it.
What is the Circuit of Wales?
The blurb states that it is going to be a “world class motor sport venue”.. “alongside a one million sq. ft. technology park” set in 830 acres. (Silverstone is 720 acres)
I know it is in Wales, but where in Wales?
Blaenau Gwent; to those of us not versed in the areas of Wales, it is in the south, west of Abergavenny, north of Cardiff and Newport and east of Merthyr Tydfil. Otherwise known as the Heads of the Valleys area.
Don’t we have enough circuits in the UK?
This is the Marmite section of the project. One camp is suggesting that with around 26 (plus inactive, sprint, hill climbs and road circuits on top) then there are more than enough circuits, of all different styles, to please competitors and fans alike. They back up their case with arguments about the cost of racing, with so many circuits all vying for the racing £, then no-one is doing very well and the £315m being “wasted” on a new circuit could be shared around to help make the rest of the countries venues viable.
The “for” camp state that the circuit is only the headline act; it is the 1msqft technology park that is the real money and jobs winner. They state that unlike the last big new circuit, Rockingham, it is this holistic plan that ensures the WHOLE project will succeed. There is also the fact that this new development is in an area that needs the work, needs the investment and (controversially) needs the spark that racing and technology give to get it going again after years in the doldrums since the mines shut.
OK, I get it, but this isn’t a clubbie circuit so who is going to bring a series of world class?
The circuit signed a contract with Dorna Sports to be the venue for the British Moto GP from 2015 to 2019. Plainly the 2015 version would have been Motocross not Motogp but missing any more years if construction falls behind, would seriously hurt the viability of the track surely?
As for other major events – It would be hard to imagine BTCC not visiting and most of the domestic series but Formula 1, Formula 2, Formula E, DTM (the ones that bring big spectator numbers) are perhaps a dream but who knows – Bernie has landed us an F1 race in Baku in 2016 (look up where Baku is!!)
The truth is that until the money is being spent and things are taking shape then there can be no certainty – governments change, motivation changes, the money might find a sexier project. After all, look at what fate befell Donington Park – one that it still has not recovered from.
For my part; I am going to sit on the fence until a lot more details are released. I can see both sides of the argument and I travel through the area that is going to be developed quite frequently – I think it will do wonders for the whole of South Wales if everyone gets behind it but if not, then I can see it going the way of the ghost airport in Spain that Top Gear visited on one of its specials a few years back.
Roger Grimshaw - NMA Tutor