Jaguar Land Rover may buy Silverstone
Company would use circuit as a new permanent base of operations
Jaguar Land Rover is preparing a bid to buy the Silverstone circuit, host of the British Grand Prix, according to the Financial Times.
Documents obtained by the newspaper suggest that Jaguar Land Rover has been exploring a bid to lease the racing circuit for several months.
Bid documents from property consultants show that the lease of the circuit, complete with accompanying industrial units and land could cost JLR £22.7 million.
The proposal includes plans for JLR to build a new 'Heritage centre' as well as a museum, hotel and design workshop, as well as using the circuit for customer handover purposes. The site will also feature driving-based experiences and driver training.
The circuit is currently owned by the British Racing Drivers' Club. Established in 1928, the organisation first leased Silverstone back in the 1950s and bought the circuit in the 1970s.
Any decision to sell Silverstone would have to go through their 850 members. The Telegraph reports that the BRDC struck up a deal to sell the circuit and then have it leased back to them in April 2014, but the club eventually decided against the move after preliminary negotiations were held.
Racing is expected to continue at the venue regardless of whether the deal happens, but Autocar highlights that the lease could leave Silverstone's hosting of the loss-making British Grand Prix in a precarious position.
"While being based at the so-called 'Home of the British Grand Prix' would add considerable kudos to JLR if it based itself at the venue, it is unlikely to want to subsidise an event that would severely disrupt its core activities" reports the magazine.
The deal is still in the very early stages and Autosport cites Silverstone's commitment to host Formula 1 races until 2026.
Silverstone announced that it had received no formal offer from the Indian-owned carmaker, Reuters reports.