RAC Cars News


Silverstone purchase off for Jaguar Land Rover

By raccars Published

Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover announces Silverstone purchase is off after months of negotiations.

The owners of the Silverstone race track have been dealt a blow after Jaguar Land Rover announced that it no longer wanted to lease or buy the track. The British Grand Prix track’s owners had been looking for ways to improve the site’s finances.

The British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) revealed in April that it was talking to Jaguar Land Rover about leasing the circuit’s property. JLR had been thinking about creating a heritage centre where its luxury cars would be exhibited and there were also rumours that the track would be used as a testing ground for Jaguar Land Rover cars.

After months of discussions, however, Britain’s largest car maker revealed that it had abandoned the plans. A spokesperson said that discussions with BRDC were over and the company did not want to proceed with plans to buy or lease Silverstone at the current time.

Jaguar Land Rover follows Tomlinson

It has also been reported that the entrepreneur Laurence Tomlinson, who is estimated to be worth more than £500 million, has also chosen not to pursue a deal which would see him investing in the site. It is believed that he has made a series of offers but had failed to reach a deal.

Ginetta chairman Tomlinson had extended an option on the track until the end of October but this offer lapsed as no decision had been reached said John Grant, the BRDC chairman.

The BRDC has refused to comment on the end of the negotiations but it is believed that JLR had put forward the idea of it injecting £33 million into the track. In return, Jaguar Land Rover would receive a 249-year lease but in its statement, JLR said that discussions had been ended ‘for the foreseeable future’.

The owner of Kent’s Brands Hatch track, Jonathan Palmer, is the only known party still apparently interested in the troubled track. Palmer, the chief executive of Brands Hatch owner Motorsport Vision (MSV), said previously that he wanted an opportunity to put forward a deal for Silverstone, adding that he had indicated that MSV has an interest in running Silverstone on a variety of occasions.

BRDC chairman Grant is also believed to have said that there is at least one other party actively interested in Silverstone. He said that this was a ‘substantial’ investor from overseas which had ‘long-established’ UK interests.

Profit warning at Silverstone

Silverstone’s shareholders received a profit warning from chairman John Grant in October. The BDRC is made up of 850 shareholders, including former racing champions Nigel Mansell and Sir Jackie Stewart. The club has reported losses of £55.9 million between 2010 and 2015.

This year, only about 140,000 spectators watched Lewis Hamilton win this year’s British Grand Prix, marking a record-breaking attendance low even though ticket prices had been reduced and started at just £99.

BRDC chairman said that the deal with Jaguar Land Rover would have enabled the club to keep control of Silverstone as a business but the deal with JLR was beset by problems. Earlier this year it was reported that Porsche had used a covenant to impede Jaguar’s plans. Porsche has a driving centre next to Silverstone’s Hangar Straight and is said to have used a covenant in its lease to stop its rival from making use of the circuit for over 45 days each year.

Silverstone played host to Britain’s first Grand Prix in 1950. Since then it has held numerous GPs since the start of the F1 championship, also in 1950.

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