Reports suggest Jaguar Land Rover’s offer to buy home of British GP has been blocked by German car maker; boss of Silverstone 'on leave'

Jaguar Land Rover’s offer to buy the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit for £33 million has been blocked by Porsche, according to reports in The Telegraph.

Jaguar Land Rover has now backed out of the running for Silverstone. Click here to read more.

A spokesman for the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), which currently owns Silverstone, told The Telegraph that Porsche has halted the purchase from going through, using powers given to it as owner of a driving centre (pictured below) within the circuit grounds.

“Porsche has a covenant within its lease that says no manufacturer can use the circuit for more than 45 days a year,” the spokesman said. “JLR were aware of that covenant and assumed that they might be able to sort it out after the deal was done.”

But the BRDC representative added that Porsche is now indicating it won’t renounce its rights. The issue has reportedly stalled JLR’s progress with taking over of the home of the British GP.

JLR's comments on the matter have so far been vague. Its latest statement said: "Our discussions with the British Racing Drivers' Club are ongoing, but there is no detail to share at this stage. All discussions remain commercially confidential."

Autocar contacted Porsche for comment. A company statement neither denied nor confirmed the claims, stating that private contract matters are not to be discussed in public. However, it did say that it would never stand in the way of a potential deal if it believed the transaction was beneficial to the circuit.

“We wish to see Silverstone, its businesses and the local community continue to thrive and we are fully supportive of initiatives that bring further growth and prosperity to the site,” said a Porsche statement. “We have neither expected nor received any direct contact with representatives from Jaguar Land Rover following media speculation linking the brand with Silverstone, but we remain ready to enter any discussions deemed necessary.”

Porsche’s driving centre has gone from strength to strength in its eight active years. The site, which is located beside the circuit’s Hangar Straight, welcomed 18,396 guests in 2015, a 22% increase on the year before. JLR’s plans for Silverstone aren’t understood to have any direct involvement with the Porsche site, but it has made it clear that it wants to use Silvertsone as a test track for its customers, as well as erecting new buildings including offices, a hotel and heritage museum.

Following the stalling of JLR’s potential deal, longstanding Silverstone boss Patrick Allen has reportedly been placed on leave amid concerns his ties with another potential buyer of the circuit, Lawrence Tomlinson, were too close.

Tomlinson, a multi-millionaire businessman and owner of racing outfit Team LNT, is also bidding to take-over Silverstone. His offer letter promises to “leave the BRDC with an upfront payment of £6m, capital investment, no debt responsibilities and ongoing rent of £1m per year for a further 248 years (index-linked).”

Silverstone has acquired £55.9m worth of net losses in the past five years, although it finished in the black in 2015, with a small profit of £1.2m.

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Comments
14

11 August 2016
Surely now that we've got BREXIT, we don'T have to do what the Geraman's say.
I mean we (the British) wouldn't tell the Germans what to do about the Nürburgring!!!
(Even tough JLR have a facility ther!!!!)

11 August 2016
Wtf! Whatever; i'm sure the germans are able to write English to a far higher standard than you

11 August 2016
So no lawyer of JLR had seen the '45 day' covenant that a certain car company had from Zuffenhausen ? Says a lot about the quality of lawyers/advisers JLR uses doesn't it ? Or maybe it's worse than that: maybe their legals did point out the small but inconvenient clause and JLR management thought it was a mere bagatelle that could be sorted post-purchase ? Really ? Zuffenhause 1: Coventry 0: now there's an unfamiliar score-line.

BertoniBertone

11 August 2016
So Porsche's contract has a clause that states no manufacture can USE the circuit for more than 45days.

What the chuff has that got to do with ownership. Shouldn't prevent the purchase. Then as the owner JLR could then renegotiate with Porsche.

Be interesting what sort of deal and how much the BDRC gave up to Porsche for this driving centre.

11 August 2016
So Porsche's contract has a clause that states no manufacture can USE the circuit for more than 45days.

What the chuff has that got to do with ownership. Shouldn't prevent the purchase. Then as the owner JLR could then renegotiate with Porsche.

Be interesting what sort of deal and how much the BDRC gave up to Porsche for this driving centre.

11 August 2016
takumiuk wrote:

So Porsche's contract has a clause that states no manufacture can USE the circuit for more than 45days.

What the chuff has that got to do with ownership. Shouldn't prevent the purchase. Then as the owner JLR could then renegotiate with Porsche.

Be interesting what sort of deal and how much the BDRC gave up to Porsche for this driving centre.

Since we don't know the circumstances of JLR's purchase (other than the quoted cost) there are likely to have been details regarding JLR track usage post-purchase that Porsche saw as an obvious contravention of their covenant.

The circuit can sell to whomever it chooses and that has nothing to do with Porsche. It obviously has everything to do with usage. You can't just go ahead and contravene legally binding contracts then hope it all gets sorted out afterwards.


11 August 2016
Not exactly a huge surprise. Anyone that's seen Porsche's set up at Silverstone can see they've made an investment and wouldn't be happy to see that overshadowed by another brand, nor would they just happily up sticks and move to another circuit. Right from the start this had a bit of a whiff of the same questionable logic as setting up production in Saudi Arabia.

11 August 2016
Why doesn't JLR just give Porsche £22.5 milllion and share?,come to think of it,why can't ALL British Car makers have use for a certain amount each year?

Peter Cavellini.

11 August 2016
Peter Cavellini wrote:

why can't ALL British Car makers have use for a certain amount each year?

The probably can have use already, most tracks are available for hire. But a race track is not much use for development work, for that you need a test track, and for car handover and experience days you need a more permanent set up (e.g. Porsche at Silverstone, Mercedes at Brooklands) and ideally no rivals next door.

11 August 2016
From a variety of publications I learn that more than one german F1 track is in danger of collapsing denying a "home GP for Merc (and maybe VW and BMW in the future. Surely Porsche would find it more patriotic and much cheaper for travel and transportation to take over a German track?? Why bugger up the British (probably because it is better run and even profitable whereas the German ones are KAPUT !!)

what's life without imagination

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