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Government motor sports boost could herald return of Birmingham Super Prix

Government motor sports boost could herald return of Birmingham Super Prix

🕔11.Jul 2014

Local councils are to be given powers to stage motor sports events on public roads, raising the possibility that the Birmingham Super Prix could return to the city centre.

David Cameron, the prime minister, said races could be money-spinners for local authorities, bringing in crowds and boosting the local economy.

At the moment councils are unable to close roads for a motor race or suspend the Road Traffic Act, which means that speed limits, traffic signals and the requirement for a vehicle to be road legal must be in force at all times.

When Birmingham famously staged its Super Prix events from 1986 to 1990 the city council had to obtain permission through a special Act of Parliament – The Birmingham Road Race Bill.

Described as ‘Birmingham’s own grand prix’, the event generated valuable publicity for the city, with cars travelling at speeds of up to 200mph in a Monaco-style race along a circuit taking in Belgrave Middleway, Bristol Street, Pershore Street and Sherlock Street.

The annual race drew impressive crowds, but was eventually shelved by the council on cost grounds.

An attempt to re-introduce the Super Prix during the early days of Birmingham’s Tory-Lib Dem coalition in 2004 fizzled out.

Mr Cameron confirmed that the Government intends to legislate to allow local authorities the powers to stage motor sport events, as long as relevant safety considerations are undertaken.

He made the announcement during the official opening of a new Formula One Williams factory in Oxfordshire.

Mr Cameron said: “We have a great tradition of motorsport in this country and today we are bringing British motor racing back to British roads, to benefit local communities. As part of our long-term economic plan, we are backing our world-leading motorsport industry to support jobs, enhance skills and help us to build a more resilient economy.”

Following the huge success of the first three stages of this year’s Tour de France being staged in the UK, which saw an estimated 3.5 million spectators line the streets, today’s move will allow local communities across the country to reap the benefits from staging elite motor sports events.

Hosting the first three stages of the most famous cycle race in the world is estimated to bring in over £100m to the UK economy and today’s announcement could generate an extra £40m over 5 years for local communities hosting motor sport events. The motor sports industry estimates that there could be demand to hold up to 20 significant motor sport events on roads around Britain each year.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Motor sport has a huge following in the UK. These changes will provide more opportunities for fans to enjoy the sport locally and give a financial boost to local economies through the added benefits of tourism, shopping and spending.”

Last year it was reported that Birmingham City University was involved in a bid to bring motor racing back to the streets by utilising super-fast Formula E electric cars.

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