IT already attracts more than one million people to its various events every year but Silverstone’s historic racing circuit aims to add another 400,000 to that.
Among the irons in the fire are possibly staging music concerts, hosting motorcycle days for enthusiasts to use the circuit and expanding gift experience days at the Northamptonshire circuit.
On Friday (May 4) Silverstone hosted an Open Day for more than 70 events industry professionals at the futuristic Silverstone Wing. The £30million Wing, opened last year, is one of the biggest venues in the country for the hosting of corporate shindigs.
Big names like Apple, Red Bull, Coca-Cola have already held events in one of the three aircraft-hangar like halls. Two more halls are due to open in June.
Richard Phillips, managing director of Silverstone Circuits Limited confirmed a further 2,615 sq-m of event space would be launched in the summer and outlined plans to build three hotels, providing 600 rooms, on-site.
Adrian Burke, sales director at Silverstone, said: “We have 1.1million visitors each year. We hope to increase footfall by 400,000.
“Our retail gift experiences will bring in 100,000 more people and we are about to announce our bike days, where people can use their bikes on our circuit. Then we have the corporate activity.”
Silverstone is the only racing circuit in the world funded by the private sector. Silverstone Holdings Limited is the commercial arm of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Group of Companies.
The BRDC is currently looking for big commercial backers to help their development plans by bringing in new investment. But a spokesman confirmed they wouldn’t be rushing into a deal. If new invesment could not be found, he said the BRDC would fund developments itself over 20 years “but we’d have to do it slower,” he added.
Mr Phillips said: “We hope to modernise the circuit. It is 64-65 years old and has a significant role in the UK economy.
“The planning permission granted for the six million sq-ft development last year was the biggest in the country.
“We’re not just about Formula One. We held 57 different events last year, including bike events and testing.
“There’s more to Silverstone than you might think. The Wing is marvellous. We had to build it for F1 and these are very exciting times for Silverstone.”
The Wing, with a roof built in the shape of an aerodynamic aircraft, can hold more than 4,000 people. On F1 race days it employs 1,000 additional staff.
Only minutes away from Buckingham and Milton Keynes, Silverstone, which was a Second World War airfield, already has a licence to cater for more than 90,000 people.
Mr Phillips said the company was looking at hosting standalone music concerts. It already holds music events on race days but it is looking into using the venue for standalone events.
Daniel Whittemore, sales manager for the Silverstone Wing, said: “We recognise we are entering a very competitive industry, so we have to be service-led and meet customer needs. We are driven to surpass organisers’ expectations and deliver a world-class event space, which we have strived to showcase.”