Home straight for motor racing track

By: Caroline Cunha

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PORTIMÃO CÂMARA has approved detailed plans for a 200 million euros motor racing complex in Escampadinho, Mexilhoeira Grande. It is hoped that construction will begin in September this year.

“The difficult part of the planning approval process is now over,” a câmara spokesperson told The Resident. “The plano de pormenor (detailed urbanisation plans) now needs to be sent to the Comissão de Co-ordenação de Desenvolvimento Região (CCDR), the commission for regional development and co-ordination and the government for approval, but this is really a formality.

“Once the final document has been approved, work can then begin. It is expected that this will happen at the beginning of the last quarter of this year and the project is likely to take around two years to complete. The complex is expected to open in 2009 and will create 1,200 new jobs.”

The project is considered to be one of the largest investments ever to be made in the Algarve and is being developed by Portimão company,Parkalgar. Part of the land was donated by the câmara.  As well as the race track,  offering a seating capacity of 140,000, the complex will also host a 200-room five-star hotel, 160 apartments, tennis courts, spa and a small congress centre.

There will also be a technology centre, karting track and driving school. The Resident was also informed that a five kilometre road link will be built to connect the new complex to the A22 motorway. The spokesman said that the racing track has been approved by the FIA and the CIM, which regulate all tracks for Formula One, Superbikes and Grand Prix events. “We will have the necessary conditions to host Formula One events here, but whether we will or not depends on lots of other things. It depends on the government, financing and other factors.”  The track would be profitable whether Formula One events are hosted there or not.

Parkalgar first devised the project four years ago. In 2005, the complex was registered as a project of national interest (the most difficult achievement in the approval process) and last year the environmental plans were approved.

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