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BRDC hope for early masterplan approval

Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club, are hoping for an early approval for a 'Master Plan' redevelopment of the track that will help secure the long-term future of the British Grand Prix.

The BRDC met with local government officials earlier this week to try and speed up the process of an overhaul of the circuit that they want to get moving on before talks continue about extending their Grand Prix deal. The current British GP contract runs out in 2009.

BRDC president Damon Hill and Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips were joined by Minister for Sport Richard Caborn at the presentation to local government representatives whose support is vital to help finance the modifications.

The BRDC admit that the success of Britain's motorsport industry depends on the British GP's future being secured, although that can only be done if Silverstone's business model is revamped.

Phillips said: "Maintenance of Grand Prix racing at Silverstone is an essential ingredient in the growth of motorsport valley. Seventy percent of our business activity is directly attributable to events, of which 85% is Grand Prix related. To change this balance we have to develop the estate and allow a wider diversification of business types to come to Silverstone.

"Beyond the development it is very necessary for the core business to be allowed to grow and flourish. We must diversify our activities; raise our game with state-of-the-art facilities; excite new audiences to our venue; and build a sustainable business in order to minimise the risks associated with the cost of Grand Prix Racing. Only then will we able to afford it, and will UK PLCs benefit."

The Silverstone Master Plan, which has been approved by the BRDC following difficulties with earlier plans to change the circuit, includes the building of new grandstands, new pit and paddock facilities, a science park, a manufacturer test centre, a small amount of residential development, and a hotel and conference resource.

Richard Caborn, Minister for Sport, said: "Silverstone is a world leader in many ways and should not be underestimated.

"The Master Plan really builds on the Silverstone brand and shows a great deal of potential. It outlines the beginnings of a major Centre of Excellence that will rank up there with any in the world helping to ensure the supply chain to this sector is maintained for years to come.

"The Master Plan is not only important to Silverstone and its continued hosting of the British Grand Prix, but also the development of the sport in this country. It gives a real opportunity to British Motorsport to realise its ambitions in the not too distant future."

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