Coventry is set to become the first city in the UK to stage competitive motorsport on its public roads.
Coventry City Council has given the green light to racing by using new government legislation designed to allow cities to host motorsports events.
The organisers of the Coventry Motofest 2015 event will stage competitive time trials on Coventry’s ring road following on from the government’s decision to grant councils powers to turn public roads into temporary racetracks.
In July, local authorities were given the opportunity by the government to suspend the Road Traffic Act, previously requiring an act of Parliament, and Coventry has been the first to take advantage.
As a result, Motofest 2015 has partnered with the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) to stage a two-day programme of time trials featuring vehicles from across BARC’s various championships and race series.
It will, subject to Motosport Industry Association (MIA) approval, see the Coventry ring road play host to British Formula 3 cars, vehicles from the British Touring Car championship and Porsche Carrera Cup series cars, amongst others.
Each of the classifications will participate in time trial laps around the city’s ring road with various trophies and prizes for winners of each of the different competing series.
James Noble, Motofest festival director, said: “We are so excited to announce competitive motorsport on the Coventry Ring Road. This was a big part of our vision when Motofest was first developed and we are so grateful to Coventry City Council for its forward-thinking approach in enabling us to make it a reality.
“With Coventry’s rich motoring heritage and history, it feels like the right fit to be racing in Coventry and we can’t wait to make it happen.”
Ian Watson, BARC general manager, added: “The idea of running cars at racing speeds around the city centre is a fairly unique experience and something which could be further developed in the future.”
“The safety of the competitors and the residents of the city is uppermost in our minds and hence we need to work with the MSA to provide a venue which is suitable for use of this sort.
“Street racing happens in other parts of the world, most famously in Monaco. Being given the opportunity to do something such as this within the UK should prove exciting for everyone involved from the organisers, through to the competitors and the spectators.”
They will be aiming to gather around 150 competitors to Coventry MotoFest 2015, with representatives of each of their racing series competing in the timed lap events.
Cllr Abdul Khan, cabinet member for culture, leisure, sports, parks and events, said: “We have a rich motoring history and I don’t believe there is a more appropriate city to host an event like this. Our city centre was transformed into a showcase celebration of the city’s rich motoring history but this event also provides a glimpse into our automotive future.”