Race ace drives off with Brands Hatch

Brands Hatch, one of the most famous names in motor sport, closed a sorry chapter in its illustrious history yesterday when the American advertising agency that owns the circuit sold it to Jonathan Palmer, the former racing driver turned businessman, for an undisclosed sum.

Racing enthusiasts hope the deal will mark a renaissance for the track, which traces it roots back nearly 80 years. It has undergone a torrid time recently as previous owners have battled local planning authorities in vain to have the circuit upgraded to Formula One standard. The last British F1 Grand Prix was held there in 1986, won by Nigel Mansell.

Interpublic, the US advertising and marketing giant, yesterday said it had sold Brands Hatch, along with the Snetterton, Oulton Park and Cadwell Park racing circuits, which it bought for $190m ($133m) in 1999. It has written off the entire amount bar the value of the circuits' physical assets, thought to be worth up to £30m.

Mr Palmer, a former F1 driver who retired from competitive racing in 1990, said he intended to improve the type of motor sport on offer at the circuits and the facilities for spectators to persuade the crowds to return.

Mr Palmer, who is also a qualified doctor, said: "What's needed is more edge-of-the-seat excitement in motor sport, more overtaking and we've got some pretty good ideas for the development of that."

Interpublic bought Brands Hatch from the Foulston family who controlled Brands Hatch Lesiure, a quoted company. Nicola Foulston, the chief executive, had led a bitter but ultimately fruitless takeover battle for Silverstone before the Interpublic deal. She had also won a 10-year contract to stage the British F1 Grand Prix at Brands Hatch but needed planning permission to proceed.

When this failed, Interpublic was left to sign an expensive lease agreement with Silverstone to continue staging the Grand prix there until at least 2010.

That agreement remains in place, despite the sale of Interpublic's racing circuits.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific