A GROUP of business leaders has urged BCP Council leaders to back the idea of a ‘Monaco’-style eGrand Prix in Bournemouth.
Wessex Entrepreneurs believes the Dorset economy needs a new major driver for economic prosperity and the international exposure of a major motor sport event “would put Bournemouth back on the map”.
Retired banking executive Tony Williams has written to the council on behalf of the investor group urging it to support the scheme.
Mr Williams says it would it would be seen as a positive step forward by many Bournemouth businesses.
The Formula E event, complementing the air festival, would be held for one day in 2023, becoming week-long with a ‘Monaco format’ in three years.
The sport, currently contested by 12 teams with two drivers each, features electric-powered race cars similar in style to the hybrid-drive cars of Formula One.
Racing generally takes place on temporary city-centre street circuits, around 1.2 to 2.1 miles long.
In his letter, Mr Williams says: “Bournemouth finds itself a victim of history. Once a traditional quality seaside resort, the impact of cheap holidays abroad stole its major market in the 60s.
“Building the Bournemouth International Centre made sense at the time, but many major users, including the UK political parties have moved to more central and larger capacity locations like Birmingham and Manchester.
“Dorset is rightly proud of its engineering, hi-tech and aviation sectors, but these now seem to be under siege from US vulture funds.
“Cobham, the jewel in the crown of Dorset businesses has fallen to Advent and it seems there is a possibility that Ultra Electronics might go the same way. Financial services is another target for US predators.”
Mr Williams believes Bournemouth eGrand Prix “might begin to turn the economic tide. It would show possible investors that Bournemouth and Dorset as a whole are the places to be.
“It would leverage the businesses given grants under the Bounce Back Challenge Scheme and generally bring hope to the hard-pressed business community,” he added.
BCP deputy leader Cllr Phil Broadhead said: “We’d be really keen to see a future eGrand Prix come to BCP. We already host a number of significant international events and are building our reputation as an eventful city region that can compete with other major locations across the world.
“eGrand Prix are clearly the future of motorsport, combining driver skill with the latest technology and innovation in a climate-friendly way. Awareness and visitor numbers are growing fast in the places where races take place. Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole would be proud to host a future eGrand Prix and I would be keen to speak to the promoters to see how we can help with their plans.”
The proposed route
Start at Christchurch Road. (suitable width to accommodate pit facilities) past Royal Bath Hotel, West Cliff Road, Durley roundabout, Durley Chine Road, join Wessex Way, off at the St Pauls roundabout, St Pauls Road and St Swithuns Road, rejoin Christchurch Road and complete the circuit.