Toth-jones joins Ginetta GT5 series MATT AMES
THE VOICE OF NATIONAL RACING JAMES “The drivers need to have a voice”
Richardson Racing will return to GT competition this season, running karter Alex Toth-jones in selected rounds of the Ginetta GT5 Challenge.
The squad raced solely in single-seaters last season, with Louise Richardson and Ollie Pidgley competing in MSA Formula. It last competed in the Ginetta category in 2010 but contested the GT4 Supercup until 2014.
“It’s something we wanted to go back to,” said team boss Gwyn Richardson. “It’s a logical step for junior drivers and it’s a cost-effective championship. We want to be able to take drivers through from singleseaters into GTS.”
Toth-jones is an MSA Academy member and was NKRA North Region Senior Max champion last year.
“My early running in the Ginetta G40 has been very positive and even though it requires a different style of driving to what I am used to, the same rules still apply when it comes to chasing the end result,” he said.
The team did not compete in the opening Ford MSA Formula round at Brands Hatch earlier this month, but Richardson added that it would join the series later in the season.
The future of the Circuit of Wales development hinges on a revised financial model proposed to the Welsh government last week.
COW development firm, the Heads of the Valleys Development Company, had attracted insurance giant Aviva to fund the £357million project and hoped to finalise the deal last month.
But last week, Welsh economy minister Edwina Hart said the government would not underwrite the project after seeking legal advice. It is understood Aviva has projected a modest £13million profit for each year of a 33-year lease, and the HVDC wanted the government to guarantee against any shortfall.
Hart said: “It is important to remember that this project started as being one that would be fully funded in the private sector risk capital, without the need for a government guarantee.
“We have considered a guarantee of 80 per cent, which may have reduced our risk to an acceptable level, but the circuit have not been able to secure any real private risk capital, so this option has not been possible.”
Last Thursday, HVDC chief executive Michael Carrick said it would go ahead with new proposals, which are understood to be at 80 per cent or less.
Hart’s statement came at the end of the Labour government’s current term, with elections in May. That has delayed the process by up to eight weeks, with a decision on the new offer from HVDC not possible until the next government.
It is a crucial stage for the development, which is now unlikely to be ready to host the British Motogp round in 2018. The Circuit of Wales secured a five-year deal to host the event from 2015-2019, with Silverstone brought in as a replacement venue for the first two years of that arrangement. This setback means that even if the green light is given to start the estimated 24-month construction process of the facility by the end of May, it still needs to host practice events and acquire FIM approval before hosting Motogp.
It is unknown what the consequences of the government rejecting the new deal would be, or whether the project would be able to attain a new backer if Aviva walked away as a result.
Carrick said: “We fully recognise and appreciate the support of the Welsh Government and the private sector partners to get the project to the point where construction is imminent.
“We respect and understand the Minister’s decision on a 100 per cent guarantee. While this was our clear preference and reflective of the negotiations we have held over the past six months, we accept the project will need to continue on revised terms. We will continue to work with all parties to advance the development on revised terms acceptable to all parties.”