Council ‘right’ on Silverstone Circuit loan

The Silverstone Wing
The Silverstone Wing
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Northants County Council leader Jim Harker says his authority has been proved right in its decision to loan Silverstone £13 million to help secure the future of the British Grand Prix.

The circuit signed a 17-year deal to host the race in December 2009 off the back of the loan to kick-start improvement works, including alterations to the track and the building of the Wing pit and paddock complex.

It was announced last month that Silverstone’s owners, the British Racing Drivers Club, had signed a £32 million agreement to lease land around the circuit, which means it can pay back the loan two years ahead of schedule.

Councillor Harker said: “Four years ago, Bernie Ecclestone tried to pull the plug on the grand prix.

“We stuck our necks out and took a risk. The financial investment we put in had never been done before.

“We have had, and continue to get, opposition from the Liberal Democrats and Labour to this international sporting event. But the grand prix was secured for another 17 years, and all that investment was justified.

“It has protected 22,000 jobs, and we got our money back at a good rate of interest.”