Porsche seeking to block Silverstone sale

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Plans for the British Racing Drivers Club to sell Silverstone to Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) have been blocked by Porsche, according to reports in the Daily Telegraph newspaper this weekend.

The BRDC warned earlier this year that it no cash reserves left with which to fund necessary future development of the circuit.

Despite not having any government support, Silverstone made a profit of £1.2 million in 2015 largely thanks to the success of the British Grand Prix, but the owners warned that mounting losses made a sale of the circuit inevitable.

Jaguar had been planning to purchase the site to build offices for up to 1,000 members of staff at Silverstone, and to use the track itself as a high-performance test facility.

Jaguar's deal agreed in April valued Silverstone at £33 million. A rival approach had also made by engineering entrepreneur and racing team owner Lawrence Tomlinson.

However, Porsche - which operates a driving centre at the track - has activated a clause in its own existing contract with Silverstone which states that competitors such as Jaguar are not able to use the track for more than 45 days a year.

"JLR were aware of that covenant and assumed that they might be able to sort it out after the deal was done," the newspaper reports a senior BRDC member as saying this week.

"I have been told in the last 48 hours that Porsche have indicated that they would not be prepared to waive their rights."

Spokesmen for both the companies involved were non-committal in their comments to journalists.

"Our discussions with the British Racing Drivers Club are ongoing, but there is no detail to share at this stage," said a Jaguar representative. "All discussions remain commercially confidential."

"We are not prepared to confirm or deny any details contained within private contracts," said a spokesman for Porsche. "We have a shared aim with the BRDC, in that we wish to see Silverstone and its local community thrive."

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