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Newin and Tilke to build racing circuit in Buri Ram

Buriram United president Newin Chidchob, second from the right, poses for a photo at the press conference yesterday

Buriram United president Newin Chidchob, second from the right, poses for a photo at the press conference yesterday

A consortium led by Buriram United president Newin Chidchob has rolled out an ambitious plan to build the country's first ever circuit of international standard within a year in the northeastern province of Buri Ram, with a staggering budget of Bt2 billion.

The building of the 50,000-capacity Buriram International circuit (BRIC) with a 4.7km track designed by renowned German Hermann Tilke is due to be completed before October next year.

With the northeastern province already boasting, if reports are to be believed, the country's only Fifa-endorsed venue - the I-Mobile Stadium - which is the home ground of Thai Premier League club Buriram United, the BRIC would fulfill Newin's ambitions to put his home town on the world map under the "Buriram Beyond Unbelievable" project.

Newin said even though the idea of building the circuit emanated from his personal interest in motorbikes, the BRIC he claimed would be a viable project by repeatedly using the phrase "I'm mad but not stupid" during the conference yesterday at the I-Mobile Stadium.

"Previously, I loved only football but not long before when I got a KTM bike, my life has changed. I've spent many hours almost every day in riding my bike. It's such a fascinating experience for me.

"But, when I talked with my friends about the place for big bike lovers in the country there were only a few and all of the existing tracks are not of international standard. That's when I came up with an idea to build it.

"When we want to do something we'll make it the best in the country or even the region just like when we built the I-Mobile Stadium. That's why we hired, arguably, the world's No 1 track designer, Hermann Tilke, who has designed many tracks, including the Korean and Shanghai international circuits.

"The main reason why we employed Tilke was that we wanted to build a venue that meets the standards of both FIM and FIA, the governing bodies of motorcycle and car racing respectively. We want to host world championship events on our track.

"The BRIC track will meet both FIA's Category 2 and FIM's Grade A standards. It means we can hold any car-racing event except the F1 race, while for motorcycling we can host any event from the top-flight Moto GP race.

"Why don't we build a track for F1? Personally, I don't see it feasible because there're approximately 40 venues around the world that can host F1 race but there're only 18 races for a season. So, there's a possibility that our track would not be included in the F1 calendar.

"Moreover, we need a huge amount of money to build an F1 track. To be honest, we don't know how to find that money. I'm mad but not stupid. I thought about it very carefully. And I decided to build the circuit because I saw its potential and the economic benefits it would give to my province. We could break even within five years," said Newin.

The 58-year-old Tilke, hired on a contract reportedly worth US$3 million, said the circuit that is to be built on the 796-rai plot of land near the I-Mobile stadium will have its own uniqueness, most importantly a grand stand that could overlook the whole track.

"First of all, it'd be second to none in design. Secondly, it'd be among the best and modern tracks in the world. The third is about uniqueness. You know, we have many circuits in the world and every circuit has something unique.

"Here, the very unique feature of the track would be a fast corner after the long stretch. We used to see it in the old circuit but then it was changed due to the safety or not enough space. There's just a few at the moment in the whole world.

"What would make it more special would be the grand stand, which is on the top of the pits building on the highest point of the land. The spectators can see everything. This is normally only possible in American oval racing but not in track racing," said Tilke.

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