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Circuit of Wales aerial rendering.

The Circuit of Wales has won the right to use common land it requires to build the multi-million pound track and motorsport centre. The Heads of the Valleys Development Company (HOTVDC) has confirmed that the required financing package is in place to support the project for the full amount and it has an exclusivity contract in place with the financial backers who are in the process of completing due diligence. Once these have been completed, the supporters of the project will be publicly announced and detailed construction timelines revealed.

After an extensive and robust eight-day Public Inquiry, sitting in March 2015, approval by the Deputy Minister for Farming and Food Rebecca Evans AM has permitted land previously designated as ‘common’ to be deregistered into private ownership. Throughout the Public Inquiry, Circuit of Wales presented detailed plans for substantial on and offsite mitigation highlighting the suitability of replacement land, which will lead to improved maintenance and ease of access.

Importantly, Planning Inspector Emyr Jones BSc (Hons) CEng NICE MCMI agreed stating in his report:

The likely out-turn of deregistration would be an overall enhancement of nature conservation interests[…]resulting in an overall nature conservation benefit as a result of the proposal as a whole.

Deputy Minister for Farming and Food Rebecca Evans commented:

For the reasons articulated in the report – both by the Inspector but also by other parties, I believe the socio-economic benefits that will result from the deregistration of the common land will be of significant public benefit to both the immediate area and beyond.

Michael Carrick, CEO of HOTVDC commented:

We would like to thank local councils, Welsh Assembly Members and the local community who have supported the project throughout the planning process up to this point. The Circuit of Wales has the ability to generate thousands of employment opportunities, attract greater long-term investment and deliver regeneration into Blaenau Gwent and South Wales.

Following the end of the judicial review period, and once construction and finance contracts have been finalised, on-site activity will commence.

International Speedway Corporation and Sunoco have entered a multi-year partnership that will make Sunoco the fourth Founding Partner at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) as part of its historic $400 million DAYTONA Rising redevelopment project.

The DAYTONA Rising project, encompassing the Speedway’s nearly one-mile long frontstretch, will be complete by January 2016. DAYTONA Rising will transform DIS into the world’s first motorsports stadium with premium amenities and attractions.  ISC Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy said:

Sunoco is a long-time partner of ISC and we’re excited to further develop our relationship. A brand synonymous with motorsports for many years, Sunoco will continue to be a great asset across the ISC enterprise adding to the overall fan experience.

The multi-year agreement will provide Sunoco with naming rights for one of five fan injectors. The massive, new and redesigned entry statement includes over 20,000 square feet of Sunoco engagement and fan experiences that vertically span four concourse levels. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Sunoco Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Cynthia Archer said:

This represents the next chapter of our long-term partnership with ISC. ISC is taking the motorsports experience to new heights by creating a visually-compelling facility. Fans will be amazed when they see the new motorsports stadium and Sunoco’s engaging injector experience for the first time in 2016.

Additionally, Sunoco will have branding rights for one of the fan “neighborhoods” located near its injector. A total of 11 football field-size neighborhoods will be located throughout the new frontstretch, each featuring custom bar, retail and dining areas, as well as dozens of video screens.

Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said:

We’re thrilled to welcome Sunoco as a DAYTONA Rising Founding Partner. With a rich history and commitment to customers, Sunoco will enhance the race day experience for fans at the Speedway for years to come.

About DAYTONA Rising

DAYTONA Rising is a $400 million reimagining of an American icon – Daytona International Speedway. Five expanded and redesigned entrances, or “injectors,” will lead fans to a series of escalators and elevators, transporting them to three different concourse levels. Each level features spacious social areas, or “neighborhoods,” along the nearly mile-long frontstretch. At the conclusion of the redevelopment, Daytona International Speedway will have approximately 101,500 permanent, wider and more comfortable seats, twice as many restrooms and three times as many concession stands. In addition, the Speedway will feature over 60 luxury suites with trackside views and a completely revamped hospitality experience for corporate guests. DAYTONA Rising: Reimagining an American Icon, expected to create 6,300 jobs, $300 million in labor income and over $85 million in tax revenue, will be completed in time for the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona and DAYTONA 500.

Barton Malow is serving as the design-builder for the project. In addition to DAYTONA Rising, Barton Malow has renovated the University of Michigan “Big House” and the Rose Bowl.

ROSSETTI is the architect for DAYTONA Rising. ROSSETTI is an award-winning architectural design and planning firm with 46 years of expertise in sports and entertainment projects including the Green Bay Packers Titletown, renovations for the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, a new headquarters for the LA Lakers, five MLS stadiums and the new retractable roof over the USTA’s Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Photo: A concept image of the Sunoco injector at Daytona International Speedway. (PRNewsFoto/Daytona International Speedway)

Motorsport and Grand Prix Drivers Association

A global survey of motorsport fans has highlighted concerns that F1 is failing to attract new audiences – with 75% of respondents saying they have been following the sport for more than 10 years and many of those admitting to not watching it as avidly as they did in the past.

The Global Fan Survey – claimed to be the biggest project of its kind ever conducted in sports – was carried out by and the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA), in association with expert research company Repucom.

Despite the worries about the current state of F1, it is clear from the results that fans are not demanding any knee-jerk reactions nor a radical overhaul of grand prix racing that takes it away from its historic roots.

The majority of fans are against gimmicks like success ballast, sprinkler systems, standard engines or fewer teams running more cars. Instead, they favour initiatives that have been a success in the past, such as a return to tire competition (79.6%) or refueling (60%). Editor in Chief Charles Bradley said:

The fans have spoken in numbers greater than ever that they want to see change in F1. But while they feel a need for a revamp, they also want to protect F1’s core values of racing purity and historic venues.

There’s a clear message here for the sport’s rule makers to consider a back-to-basics approach, and allowing room for engineering innovation to make the cars look – and sound – more exciting. This data from fans is priceless.

GPDA chairman Alex Wurz said:

The scientific nature of this survey, as well as the data that we have been able to extract from it, is like gold and we should value it as such. Not only do we get clear trends and answers to the 52 questions, but we gather a very deep and scientific profile of fans around the globe.

Formula 1 may need to ask itself some important questions; that’s why we wanted the fans to have their say. But through the survey the fans are clear: They don’t want a radical overhaul of grand prix racing that takes it away from its historic roots.

Mallory Park faces closure after operator goes into administration

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Mallory Park Motorsport Limited has been put into administration. The venue has been operating as a motorcycle and car race circuit for many years. In 1985 a Noise Notice was attached to Mallory Park Motorsport Limited (MPML) embracing all circuit activities and Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council decided to prosecute MPML on five charges of the Notice during 2012 which involved operating on a Saturday over and above the four days agreed in the Notice. The court hearing took place in August 2013 and ruled that MPML was guilty of this breach on the five occasions, but MPML was given the right to take the establishment rights of the 1985 Notice to a higher court.

Following the Court case, MPML immediately implemented the conditions of the 1985 Notice, thus effectively reducing the circuit activity to two days per week. MPML reported that significant losses were being incurred. It was clear that a more dynamic approach needed to be taken to overcome the significant hurdles and in September MPML developed an innovative three stage Recovery Plan to take Mallory forwards which would hopefully meets the wishes of local residents and form the basis of a viable business.

Very constructive dialogue was held with the Leader of HBBC and senior officials and MPML said it was receiving very encouraging reactions from them to the Plan. A fundamental component of the Plan was the agreement of the Land Owner to reduce the annual lease rental, which had risen by over 40% over the last eight years and had reached untenable levels. Very regrettably, despite intense work by the MPML board, the Land Owner – Titan Properties Ltd – refused to make a substantive offer to allow the Recovery Plan to proceed.

British Automobile Racing Club were keen to support MPML (and did so up to the final race meeting by paying for certain essential supplies allowing the meeting to place) and indeed would have supported MPML to ensure all its trade creditors were paid. To that end, it needed the support of the Landlord with a sustainable rent but, regrettably, this was not possible to achieve.

Accordingly, having no firm visibility into 2014 and beyond, MPML directors had no option but to place the company into Administration. The administrator, Ian Robert of Kingston Smith & Partners LLP, commented:

I will be working with all the stakeholders to ensure that Mallory Park will see racing again. I hope the administration process can assist in finding a solution which will be beneficial to all parties concerned. To that end, I will be negotiating with the landlord and the council, with the support of the BARC, to ensure that racing can be enjoyed at Mallory Park for years to come. Although it is early days, I am hopeful that, once a solution to the lease is found, all of the company’s creditors should receive a substantial dividend, which I understand is very much the driving force behind the continued support of the BARC.

Tierp motorsport track expanding events through sound

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The sound is ear-splitting: the howl of race-tuned engines vying with each other to strip paint by SPL alone from the concrete walls of the long U-shaped arena at Tierp, purpose-built track on an old military airfield in central Sweden. The brainchild of Lief Andréasson, this derelict patch of perfectly level wasteland has been turned into one of the most modern drag racing arenas in the world – with a host of other events planned, including concerts. It’s 2.51km (1.56 miles) of motorsport racetrack just 120 km (75 miles) north of Stockholm with the capacity for 20,000 spectators.

Tierp's sound system overcomes trackside volumes.

Tierp’s sound system overcomes trackside volumes.

Tierp Arena co-director Lars Erik Lindberg enthused:

We’ve built one of the best race tracks in the world, one of the best facilities for drag racing anywhere.

Its inaugural year saw one European Championship race, and in 2012 two European Championships and two Swedish Championship races.

He continued:

The reason it’s one of the best is simple: the track is concrete so it’s really flat and stable; not so sensitive to weather or temperatures. Modelled on Formula 1 tracks, it now has one of Sweden’s longest straights, plus open hairpins and very fast corners. And the facilities are excellent: grandstands for 20,000 people, many toilets, showers, and a large pit area with all the facilities the teams could want.

If drag racing is loud, it follows that the commentary has to be a few dBs more potent still. Karl-Gustaf Kahlau, of Renkus-Heinz Sweden distributor Luthman SMTTS AB, said:

The key to the audio for a drag racing audience is, of course, to make it loud so the audience can hear what the commentator is saying above the noise of the cars. What they’ve done at Tierp Arena is to use line array modules that are powerful enough, but compact enough not to obscure sightlines. When the audience is watching a race, they obviously don’t want a bulky sound system in the way.

With our help, they decided on low profile PNX102/LA line array modules, 24 boxes in total, bolted in pairs to customised steel ground frames to make 12 independent freestanding clusters, that they could place along the length of the racetrack at ground level pointing upwards towards the audience.

The line array modules are matched to high efficiency Powersoft amplifiers via a weather-insulated network of pre-installed underground cables under the racetrack, and weatherproofed ground facility panels, all running back to the amp rack room in the main building.

The track can deploy the sound system on other parts of the site for presentations, speeches and potentially for a rock concert for 10-20,000 people.

Silverstone Circuits awards trackside hospitality facilities contract

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Following a competitive tender, Silverstone Circuits has appointed Detail for three years to design, manage and construct the circuit’s official trackside hospitality facilities.

Detail was commissioned to design a vibrant yet relaxed environment for over 7,000 covers at Lakeside Terrace, Silverstone Six and Club Silverstone. The latest designs for 2013 build on the success of previous events and incorporate a new look and feel to the settings using Detail’s unique walling and continuous length graphic systems.

Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits said:

In the recent tender process Detail demonstrated their ability to produce strong creative designs that are cost effective and meet our objectives. Silverstone have enjoyed a long and healthy working relationship with Detail and I look forward to continuing with this to 2015.

James Mason, Managing Director of Detail Ltd added:

I know our team see this as a natural progression of our working relationship that spans many previous Grand Prix at Silverstone. At Detail we care passionately about the design, attention to finish and the overall guest experience whilst being ever conscious of tight timescales and dependable delivery.

The sole supply agreement for 2013 – 2015 formalises the former separate arrangements for management of Silverstone’s technical implementation by Detail and the hospitality design and construction work.

Silverstone has chosen Detail to create its trackside hospitality spaces.

Silverstone has chosen Detail to create its trackside hospitality spaces.


Austin360 Amphitheater at Circuit of Americas

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Austin360 amphitheater at Circuit of Americas

Austin360 amphitheater is working in partnership with Live Nation.

The Austin360 Amphitheater, a new 14,500-seater amphitheatre at the Circuit of the Americas, has open up with a concert featuring country stars Kenny Chesney and Kacey Musgraves.

The Circuit of the Americas has agreed a ‘multi-year’ sponsorship deal with entertainment publication Austin360. Bobby Epstein, the founding partner of the Circuit of the Americas, said:

Circuit of The Americas is delighted to welcome Austin360 as the naming rights partner for our new amphitheatre. Partnering with the largest and most successful media company in Central Texas gives us a tremendous advantage as we introduce a brand new concert stage into Austin’s established music scene.

Circuit of Americas will this year host races in the V8 Supercars and Moto GP as well as the Formula One US Grand Prix. The Austin360 Amphitheater will be run in partnership with promoter Live Nation and is set to stage a complementary series of concerts and other major events – including performances by the likes of Jimmy Buffet, the Dave Matthews Band, and Train – with its title sponsor providing extensive publicity and other support.