New Circuit In Wales Impresses Dorna Bosses

The prospects of both MotoGP and World Superbikes visiting Wales took a step closer yesterday. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and Events Managing Director Javier Alonso flew to the UK earlier this week for a series of meetings about the proposed Circuit of Wales, a new facility that is to be built near Ebbw Vale, in South Wales. The Dorna bosses met with several key figures involved in the project, including Lord Kinnock, former UK Labour Party leader and now ambassador for the circuit, and Welsh Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science Edwina Hart.

Ezpeleta and Alonso also met with media, including Motorcycle News and local news organizations. Ezpeleta expressed how impressed he had been with the plans for the facility, which include an FIM and FIA approved race track, a motocross track, a karting track, as well a technology park, hotel facilities, and a motor sports racing academy, aimed at providing training for young riders and drivers. Having another track in the UK was a positive thing for racing, Ezpeleta told the Gwent Gazette. "“For me, I will say that out of all the races we have in the year, for us and all the people involved, we feel British people know much more about racing," the Dorna boss said. Once the track receives planning permission - a hurdle the facility still has to clear - the track could be ready to host a MotoGP or World Superbike round as early as 2015, Ezpeleta told MCN's Matt Birt

Also present at the presentation were WSBK men Leon Haslam and Chaz Davies, both of whom were similarly enthusiastic about the circuit. Haslam has been providing input on the design of the circuit from a rider perspective, at the request of the people behind the project. The nature of the terrain - hilly, with a fair amount of elevation differences on the site - meant that the track will be 'fast and flowing' according to Haslam, who compared the track to circuits such as Portimao and Istanbul. Davies was similarly enthusiastic. Both Davies and Haslam have had to travel abroad to train from a very young age, but having a race track near by (Davies lives an hour from the proposed circuit) would have made it a lot easier for them as young riders, and would help breed a new generation of British riders, the two men told the press, helping to boost the profile of the sport. "We have football academies, and centres of excellence for our successful sports, but motor sport hasn't had that in the UK," Davies told Wales Online.

Comparisons could also be drawn to the Motorland Aragon circuit. Like Motorland Aragon, the Circuit of Wales was built in a region that is economically deprived, and is aimed at providing long-term support to the local economy. The addition of a technology center, business units, and an educational facility are all part of providing a robust infrastructure in the area. Both regions are geographically isolated, though Ebbw Vale is closer to large urban centers such as Bristol or Cardiff than Alcañiz is to Zaragoza or Barcelona. The development could bring some 9,000 jobs to the region, Ezpeleta told the South Wales Argus, and a MotoGP race could be expected to bring in some £2.5 million per event.

Javier Alonso was keen to draw parallels with the positive experiences of the Motorland Aragon circuit. The lessons learned from Aragon were applicable to South Wales as well. "It's not just about racing, but about providing industry and improving education," Alonso told Wales Online.

The Circuit of Wales project has deep roots within the motorcycle racing community. Former HRC communications director Chris Herring is a member of the team running the Heads of the Valleys Development Company, the organization behind the Circuit of Wales. That company also has a stake in FTR, the engineering company responsible for the FTR chassis being used in alll three Grand Prix classes. And the circuit is to be built in part by FCC Construcción, a Spanish company who were also responsible for the rebuilding work at the Jerez track in the winter of 2001/2002, which helped create the iconic "flying saucer" VIP lounge which straddles the front straight of the Spanish circuit.

The cost of that work had been a source of problems for the Jerez circuit. FCC had gone unpaid for a very long time, CIRJESA, the Spanish company running the circuit, even being forced into administration over non-payment of the sums owed to FCC and Serviobras for the work done at Jerez. 

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Good news ... but please, please, please, let it not be a Tilke-style, computer generated, F1 track with the utter-boring series of straights connected by chicanes and the occasional hairpin ... There are such wonderful tracks in the UK--Cadwell Park, Brands Hatch, Donington ...--plus such a great tradition of pure road racing, hopefully the designers of this new track will draw from that glorious heritage. The best tracks in the world have always been those built on hilly terrain, with few straights and nice flowing sectors--think Spa, Montjuic, Laguna Seca, Philip Island, the old Nurburgring, Portimao, Cadwell, Brands, Donington (minus the last section ...). Let's cross our fingers and hope we'll get an exciting track for the next generations of bikes and riders ...

As there is nothing currently built shouldn't it be 'Proposal for New Circuit in Wales Impresses Dorna Bosses'?

Small population? Check. Rainy weather? Check. Already near another GP circuit? Check. Have not even submitted planning proposal to gov't agencies? Check. 2015 in a best case scenario? Check. Looks like they covered all the bases. What are they doing there again? Shouldn't Dorna be spending their time having sponsorship conferences or something that is sorely needed right now?


I sense a retraction as the date approaches similar to what we've seen in Argentina, India, Hungary and others.
Dorna do tend to get ahead of themselves a bit.

It doesn't has that "Tilkesque" flavor that I'm sick of, BTW Tilke's circuits don't look computer based at all, the look totally random to me, like if he simply put a toddler with a pencil to draw a figure. The Korean circuit even has a flaw in the pit lane entry that caused some troubles in teh first year. I don't really know why they keep hiring Mr Tilke to design more circuits, some people say those kind of circuits were the reason F1 is so boring, very little overtaking areas. I believe Alan Wilson is a far superior circuit designer, and I'm a fan of Spaniard-styled circuits like Ricardo Tormo and Catalunya. I'm an amateur circuit ...uhm...."designer" myself, some of my ideas can be found here:

So this topic reaaly touches me, lol...

I had the good fortune to meet some of the people behind this project early last year, and I was impressed by the approach they were taking. They were getting inputs from a broad spectrum of interested parties (including, for example, MotoGP hospitality providers... :-) and at least their professed motivation was to build a circuit "designed around riders and spectators". I can't claim further knowledge, but they seem to be going in the right direction, and I am looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

The big question is will a round here replace Silverstone? No offence to Silverstone, but starting from the "ground" up I am convinced one could create a racing experience superior to the current British GP. (Or at least motivate Silverstone to improve! Not that there is a lot wrong with it, but competition helps sharpen the game!)

And is Welsh rain any different than English rain? :-)

New Circuit OMG OMG OMG!!!111... that doesn't exist yet. Thanks for getting our hopes up.

"a new facility that is to be built"

So the correct title is: _Planned_ Circuit In Wales Impresses Dorna Bosses

Also, this big government spending to get the GDP numbers up to make it look like there's not a recession when there really is, is exactly that: a numbers game, and it doesn't fix a thing. Building a new racetrack -- as cool as that is -- that nobody will use except 1, maybe 2, international events each year is called a boondoggle and nothing more.

Wales needs investment in higher technology, like many places around the world.
Tracks make most of their income from things other than 'big' races - that’s just gloss and advertising.
The UK needs some world-class (safe) tracks. An ‘off’ at most speeds is still exciting – if you can avoid hitting something hard /anything and carry on racing/working then the better it is. Silverstone may be a bit bland for some but I will happily get my knee down on any corner there, knowing it’s much less of a risk to mediocre me , who’s just trying to have some fun, than some places at Cadwell and Oulton or Brands GP. There are a few skilled racers sporting long-term injuries/effects who know the same too….
So,a Welsh Portimao, Aragon or PI (or a wider Cadwell with run-off) will be welcomed by many. If it combines enough pits for everyone, decent catering etc facilities , fuel and covered spectator facilities (yes it’s the UK), and that holy grail of good race day exit and entry with parking areas that you can get onto and off of without a tractor, then they will come in droves. Silverstone is the only UK circuit that comes close to meeting all those.
The Cardiff area is well-served for road, rail, and air (I don’t expect many super-yachts to be heading for Cardiff Bay though) and there are few areas in the UK with as many positives. There are good universities, industry, accommodation, golf, tourist areas and other sights/heritage within a short journey. It makes a lot of sense.
And if Chaz Davies can win another world championship, it will be all the better for them.

Well said, having once lived in that area for a few years it's hard to beat on a sunny day and there are surprisingly plenty of them. And we who inhabit this small island really do need to recognise that investment is good news, we need it, or it'll go somewhere else.