Jaguar Land Rover could be lining up a bid to buy the Silverstone race circuit, home of the British Grand Prix.
According to media reports, JLR is considering a bid worth £22.7 million, having sought a valuation on the facility from property consultants Cushman and Wakefield.
The Financial Times reports that motorsport, including F1, would remain central to activities at the Northamptonshire venue, run by the British Racing Drivers Club which currently holds the lease to the circuit.
However, JLR would also seek to add to its own rapidly expanding facilities at the site, building offices for up to 1,700 marketing and sales staff and engineers. According to the Birmingham Post, other plans include brand experience and heritage centres, museum and a 200-bedroom five-star hotel.
A takeover would be a welcome boost for Silverstone, particularly in its efforts to keep hold of the British Grand Prix. A contract to host the race until 2026 is in place, but circuit bosses have made no secret of their struggles to meet the £16 million hosting fee demanded by F1 ringmaster, Bernie Ecclestone. Significant investment by JLR would likely secure the future of the event.
Jaguar competed in F1 itself between 2000 and 2004 while under Ford ownership. Indian-based conglomerate Tata Motors acquired the company in 2008 at a cost of $2.8 billion. JLR opened its first Chinese factory last year and will start production in Brazil in 2016. A new plant in Slovakia is in the works, as well.
The BRDC has said it has received no formal offer from JLR, but will consider any serious offers to purchase Silverstone on its own merits and will “seek a mandate from club members before progressing it.” Membership is awarded only to drivers from the UK and Commonwealth countries who have achieved significant success.
A former World War Two bomber base, Silverstone first hosted the British GP in 1948 and was the first circuit to hold an F1 race in 1950.
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By Only Motors