Palmer Rules Out British GP Bid for Brands Hatch

Jonathan Palmer has said he is not planning to take the British Grand Prix from Silverstone to Brands Hatch after concluding the purchase of the Kent circuit on Monday.

Palmer Rules Out British GP Bid for Brands Hatch

Jonathan Palmer has said he is not planning to take the British Grand Prix from Silverstone to Brands Hatch after concluding the purchase of the Kent circuit on Monday.

Former Grand Prix driver Palmer, who also manages Formula One refugee Justin Wilson, bought the track and three others from British Grand Prix organisers Interpublic for "way below" the asking price of £75 million (Pounds).

But he is in no rush to steal their flagship event and promised: "Taking Formula One to Brands Hatch is not something we are planning. The venue is too small for that and we have to keep our feet on the ground."

Palmer revealed that Brands Hatch and his other three acquisitions - Snetterton, Oulton Park and Cadwell Park - are all currently making a loss despite holding regular British Touring Car and Formula Three events. Brands Hatch lost its flagship international race - a round of the CART Champ Car series - at the end of last year and now draws its main crowds from Superbike motorcycle racing.

But Palmer believes he can re-ignite interest in British motor racing with his new MotorSport Vision company and said he will not change the formula but simply make it more attractive.

"There are no plans to bring CART back to Brands Hatch," said Palmer. "It is just too expensive to bring all the teams over here considering the sort of crowds they attract. The main thing is to stop the losses. I would love to see international events at the circuits but we have to take things slowly and build up the British side of things.

"The plans are to keep all four circuits as motor racing venues and to evolve them into motorsport facilities that can attract more people driving around the tracks and more people watching. We will keep the same profile of activities - racing on weekends and track days and testing on week days - but we are hoping to smarten things up and just make everything a bit better."

More than 70 parties - including some residential and leisure development companies - came forward when Interpublic put the venues up for grabs after announcing a £40 million (Pounds) loss from their UK motorsport arm last year.

Brands Hatch staged the British Grand Prix until 1986 but has now become an annual pilgrimage for more than 100,000 motorcycle racing fans when it hosts the European round of the World Superbike series. In 1999, Interpublic paid £120 million (Pounds) to previous owner Nicola Foulston for Brands Hatch Leisure, which owned the circuits and the rights to run the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

The sale generated significantly less but should still help Brands Hatch Circuits - now renamed Silverstone Motorsport Limited - to add to their already significant investment in their Formula One event.

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