Hornby soars on deal with A1 racing

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The Independent Online

Hornby, the maker of model trains and cars, yesterday secured the exclusive rights to create a new range of slot cars based upon those used on the A1 Grand Prix tour. It will produce them under its Scalextric brand.

A1 Grand Prix is a new form of motor racing that ensures all competitors have cars that are technically identical - ensuring only the drivers with the best ability win. The tour pits teams from 25 countries against each other in a series of races around the world.

Hornby described the series yesterday as the "World Cup of Motorsport", saying it believed public interest was quickly growing in the new tour.

It said it hoped to develop two or more cars for each of the 25 competing nations, which it planned to put on sale by the middle of next year. Under its deal with A1, it will retain the rights until the end of 2008. Frank Martin, the chief executive of Hornby, said: "There are excellent opportunities for us to extend our distribution footprint outside our traditional Western markets to new countries such as China, India and Pakistan, each of which has its own A1 Grand Prix team."

Shares in Hornby rose more than 5 per cent on news of yesterday's deal, closing at 189.5p, giving the company a market value of £70m.