Toth-jones joins Ginetta GT5 se­ries MATT AMES

THE VOICE OF NA­TIONAL RAC­ING JAMES “The driv­ers need to have a voice”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - By Scott Mitchell Pho­tos: Mick Walker

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.”

Car­rick is seek­ing al­ter­na­tive

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