Circuit of Wales have submitted a new funding proposal to the Welsh Government, which could lead to the construction of MotoGP’s future home in Britain commencing this year.
First unveiled in 2011 and secured permission to purchase land in Ebbw Vale in November 2015, but then received a major setback last April when the Welsh Government confirmed it would not underwrite it, forcing the owners back to the drawing board.
Circuit of Wales signed a five-year deal to host MotoGP in the UK between 2015 and 2019, with an option for a further five years.
However Silverstone – which wants to keep the race – has stepped in to stay on the calendar until at least this year’s British Grand Prix.
In July 2016, Welsh Assembly Member and Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates clarified that to consider helping to fund the project, Circuit of Wales needed to secure private sector funding for 50% of the project, taking on 50% of the risk.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Skates said that the Heads of the Valleys Development Company, which is responsible for building the circuit, had submitted a new deal that “includes the names of the private investors and which they assert meets the criteria I set out in July.”
Skates had “challenged the Circuit of Wales team to make faster progress with the proposals and to provide me with the names of private sector investors to the project within two weeks” late last month, “mindful of the time that had passed”.
The Welsh Government will now conduct due diligence and evaluate the new proposal before it gives the circuit the green light.
Skates’s statement continued: “The due diligence exercise will include rigorous value for money testing and a Fit and Proper Person assessment of the directors.
“It will also assess deliverability and the long-term sustainability of the proposal.
“We will seek clarity on the types and number of jobs directly and indirectly resulting from the project; how those job numbers compare to the initially reported figure of 6,000, as well as the likely number of jobs that would be filled by local people.”
The project initially received £2million as a grant from the Welsh Government, with subsequent efforts to secure additional contributions turned down.
The Circuit of Wales also issued a statement on Wednesday confirming that its new proposal meets the criteria set out by the Welsh Government.
“The submission, developed with his officials over the past seven months, complies with the stated criteria and demonstrates private sector funding support for the project,” the statement read in part.
“This evidence has been provided to the Cabinet Secretary to support the Welsh Government guarantee for a minority of the funding for the project.
“The guarantee would be for less than 50% of the £425m Circuit of Wales scheme, a development that will be entirely funded by private investors.
“We are now preparing to move to the confirmatory due diligence and final documentation process with the Welsh Government and our partners.
“We are working to a proactive timeline and look forward to beginning construction by the spring of this year, bringing to life our vision of a world-class hub for motorsport, leisure, tourism and innovation, which will be transformational for the local community, generating employment opportunities; and helping to both stimulate and diversify the Welsh economy.”