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Circuit of Wales: The Failed Home of MotoGP in Britain

Written by Max Drinkwater-James, Edited by Meghana Sree

Silverstone and Donington Park are the two circuits remembered in history as the hosts of the British MotoGP round, however this shouldn’t have been the case.

Introducing the Circuit of Wales. A multi-purpose circuit that was planned to be constructed in the South Wales Valleys on the outskirts of Ebbw Vale.

The plans outlined a potential opportunity for the circuit to host motorsports such as MotoGP, the British Touring Car Championship, the British GT Championship as well as the World Touring Car Championship.

One of these opportunities was soon set to become a reality for the circuit as a deal was struck between MotoGP and The Circuit of Wales to host the British Grand Prix from 2015, on a five-year deal.

With the circuit having a predicted construction start date of December 2013, the proposed new home of the British Grand Prix would etch its name into the history books of MotoGP and become Wales’ mainstage motorsports venue.

However, the key issue with this construction start date was the fact it never came to fruition. The planned proposal was presented to the local Blaenau Gwent council in late 2011 and gained unanimous approval for the Circuit to go ahead with development beginning in July 2013.   

But this approval was met with opposition, and the proposed development of 850 acres of land being turned into a circuit for motor racing didn’t exactly please environmental groups. Subsequently in July 2013, when the development was due to begin, the Welsh Government put a hold on the situation whilst a review of the planning application for the circuit was conducted.

In November 2015 the Welsh Government announced that the land the circuit was to be constructed on would be deregistered with the need to resolve nearby congestion.

This sounded like great news for the circuit and hopes were that the project would finally commence in the same year it was due to host the British GP, which clearly presented a dire situation for the circuit’s reputation.

The circuit had a deal to host a race without the circuit even being constructed and being nowhere near completed, a deal was reached for Donington Park to host the 2015 British MotoGP round. However, this deal then fell through and Silverstone secured a two-year deal whilst the Circuit of Wales was to be completed.

Construction of the circuit therefore was reported to begin in 2016, nearly three years after its proposed construction start date. In a disappointing turn of events, this too never materialised, and in 2017 the scheme for the circuit was rejected by the Welsh Government for third time after a lack of funding and lower than estimated job opportunity.

To this day, Silverstone is still the home of MotoGP in Britain – and the Circuit of Wales is a sad case of what could have been, for a circuit now lost to the history books.



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