John Surtees says becoming the outright owner of Buckmore Park will allow him to consider an expansion of the circuit and to develop it to become a feeder facility to the future of British motorsport.
Surtees purchased the freehold title of the Kent circuit as well as 90-acres of surrounding woodland two years ago following a 10-year struggle with the previous landlord. The 1964 Formula 1 world champion purchased the leasehold title last month from former managing director Bill Sisley, who will remain as a consultant.
Surtees will look to expand the activities of the Henry Surtees Foundation at Buckmore Park, including introducing the next generation of young talent into motorsport.
“I want to take Buckmore forward as it’s a fairly special place,” Surtees said. “It’s a challenge, but I want to make it even better. I felt that Bill [Sisley] was threatened two years ago, and so took the opportunity to take hold of the freehold. It’s something I’d outlined when I first got involved with the building of the Buckmore clubhouse, and it took on a little more importance with Henry.
The business will importantly carry on but alongside it, I’d like to do more activities for the Foundation.
“There are a bunch of things on a wishlist that I’d like to do, depending on what can be financed, as the Foundation itself cannot finance it, but we can support it. We are in discussions with a number of colleges and intend to use the emotion created by motorsport to help get youngsters on to a career path within the sport. I’d like to use Buckmore as a feeder to British motorsport.”
Surtees added that the use of the additional 90 acres will be explored: “I’d like to look at the possibility of extending the circuit and there could also be a self-contained area for road safety training which can also be used by the colleges for the next motorsport generation. We will be in a position to decide which aspects we will be able to develop by the end of this year.”
Sisley said that he and Surtees had been speaking privately about the idea of Surtees becoming the circuit’s outright owner for the past 12 years.
“This agreement couldn’t have happened until John had possession of the complete freehold,” Sisley added. “I cannot take the company further, whereas John will do, and this is a positive outcome for everybody. It’s a natural progression, I needed a new challenge too, and it allows John to fulfil his dream.”