THE British Moto GP looks set to be held at the new Circuit of Wales racetrack in Ebbw Vale for the next decade, it was announced today.
The £315 million Rassau-based racetrack will host the event from 2016 but its developers will have the right to promote it and choose a location for next year’s Grand Prix.
The deal between Dorna, the championship’s commercial rights holders, and the Circuit of Wales is a five-year contract with the option for a further five year extension.
Carmelo Ezpelata, CEO of Dorna, said: “The racetrack itself is exciting and this is very important. Nothing is 100 per cent certain but all the guarantees are there for this event to be held in Wales in 2016. It will give exposure [of Ebbw Vale] to the rest of the world.”
Councillor Hedley McCarthy, leader of Blaenau Gwent council, said: “On behalf of the community in Blaenau Gwent, we are absolutely delighted that Dorna is bringing the British MotoGP to the Circuit of Wales. The MotoGP series is an amazing championship that has provided a stimulant and confidence for the growth of infrastructure in a number of similar areas to ours around the world in recent years. We look forward to welcoming the teams, riders, officials, media and fans to Blaenau Gwent.”
Michael Carrick, Chief Executive of Heads of the Valleys Development Company, said Blaenau Gwent was initially chosen as the venue for Circuit of Wales due to it being “one of the most impoverished areas in the European Union”.
He added: “This is a significant economic and sustainable project that is committed to Wales for 10 years. It will be huge for the area.”
Circuit of Wales will be the UK’s first high-tech, low-carbon motor racing facility. The 830-acre complex aims to attract an estimated 750,000 visitors a year, generate £50 million per year for the UK economy, and create at least 4,000 full-time jobs.
It follows a recent announcement that a 25-year partnership deal has been agreed between the racetrack’s developers and Chinese solar manufacturer, Hanergy.
The agreement will see their solar panels form a solar park site integrated within all the venue’s buildings.
And Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith said the announcement was a boost for employment in the area. He said: “The global appeal of Moto GP cannot be understated.
“It is very welcome news to see that a long-term agreement is in place.
“Other investors will see this as a concrete proposal and although there are surely twists and turns ahead, it is an important step towards bringing world-class motorsport and jobs to Blaenau Gwent.”
South East Wales Assembly Member William Graham said: “Silverstone have lost the contract and they are very upset about it. If it comes to Ebbw Vale, that’s really good.”
Although he said he was sceptical of the job projections for the site, he said the announcement was still positive: “There is not going to be a race meeting every day but the bottom line is that if someone was offering 30 jobs, if it was 300 jobs then they would be happy.”
While Cllr John Williams, who represents the Rassau ward, said the decision was welcome.
He said: “It is going to encourage investment – it is good news. Let’s take it a little bit further and make sure we have got the funding in place and we can go to town on it then. We have come a long way.”