Belfast Telegraph

British Superbike promoter MSV plans round in France

By Paul Lindsay

The British Superbike Championship, a popular destination for a plethora of top local talent that includes Michael Laverty, Josh Elliott and Glenn Irwin, could see its European wings begin to spread in 2018, after the acquisition of an aerodrome in the Picardy region of France.

BSB promoter MotorSport Vision (MSV) recently completed the freehold purchase of the substantial former military airbase in France, which it will develop into a major international motorsports complex.

The Laon-Couvron aerodrome, just north of Reims, extends to 1,263 acres and includes two former runways, the largest being 3,000m long. MSV intend to redevelop the army base into a huge motorsport village, Laon Autodrome, with the main focus to produce a five-mile racing circuit.

MSV, a private company owned by former F1 driver Jonathan Palmer and Sir Peter Ogden, already owns and operates five UK motorsport circuits: Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton, Cadwell Park and Bedford Autodrome.

MSV chief executive Jonathan Palmer said: "Our purchase of the Laon-Couvron airbase is a tremendously exciting landmark for MSV and one which will substantially grow our business over the next 10 years.

"We have been eager to expand into Europe and had targeted this area. It will serve not just the French market, but equally importantly, the whole of northern Europe."

Location and easy access is key to any circuit, with the Laon Autodrome just 75 miles from Paris, 90 miles from Brussels and within easy driving range of London, Amsterdam and Cologne. Their plans also include an international private airport.

Laon-Couvron airfield opened in 1938 as a French Air Force base but by 1940 it was under the control of the Luftwaffe. After the war the US Air Force took it over before pulling out in 1967.

Construction is due to start in spring 2017 with the opening planned for April 2018.

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