JLR and Porsche couldn't compromise over use of the track.
Jaguar Land Rover’s dream to turn the U.K’s famous Silverstone Circuit into a combination test track, heritage center, and office complex is officially dead. "Jaguar Land Rover has ended discussions with the British Racing Drivers' Club for the foreseeable future and is not proceeding with any plans to either lease or purchase Silverstone at this time," a spokesperson for the automaker told Reuters in a report cited by Automotive News Europe.
A story in August indicated the deal was in trouble because Porsche was allegedly blocking things. The German sports car maker operated a driving experience center at Silverstone, and a clause in the company’s lease contract prohibited other automakers from operating on the track for more than 45 days per year. JLR knew about the caveat and was reportedly working on a compromise. However, the two sides didn’t come to an agreement.
The British Racing Drivers' Club owns the track but has major financial losses there. Last year, the organization decided to offer a 249-year lease of the site. A few parties expressed interest, including the owner of Ginetta Cars, but JLR seemed to be the favorite. The British automaker offered 22.7 million pounds ($28.2 million at current rates) and reportedly planned to invest millions more in new construction. When not hosting races, Silverstone would have been JLR’s test track and around 700 engineers would have worked there.
In addition, Silverstone would have been a showcase for the JLR brand because the building plans allegedly included a five-star hotel and museum. People could have taken delivery of their new Jaguar or Land Rover vehicle there, too.
As long as Porsche’s contract remains it place, other automakers may have difficulty in buying Silverstone – unless they have better negotiators than JLR. The German sports car company continues to perform well financially. Perhaps it should buy the track if the firm doesn’t want to let other automakers have the opportunity.
Source: Automotive News Europe