Lim Teck Yin, chief executive officer of the Singapore Sports Council, gave an update on the Changi Motorsports Hub (CMH) at a media briefing today.
Last December, SSC announced that the project delivery agreement with SG Changi was terminated on 7 December 2011. Since then, SSC and SG Changi were working towards a mutual termination arrangement.
What’s next? Will we still get our track? What happens to the land?
Here’s the latest:
On Tuesday, 15 May 2012, SSC and SG Changi signed off on the deed of termination on various issues relating to the land, and SSC will be taking back possession of the land on Thursday, 17 May 2012.
Moving forward, there will be a launch of Request for Information (RFI).
According to Mr Lim’s statement, since the tender for CMH was launched three years ago in March 2009, “market conditions have changed and the SSC will be conducting a market sounding exercise through a RFI”.
The purpose of this RFI exercise is to assess the level of continuing interest and ideas among potential investors for a motorsports hub or other sports and lifestyle concepts at the 41-hectare site in Changi.
This is to allow SSC to more accurately gauge the market’s views on the range of ideas and feasible business models, in hope that the exercise will help to identify breakthrough sports concepts that will serve the Singaporean community as well as add value and jobs to the economy.
Both local and overseas investors are welcome so as to keep options open for different sports related concepts, whether motorsports or non-motorsports, to emerge.
The market sounding exercise is expected to start in August 2012 and be completed in end 2012.
SSC is now in the process of engaging the services of a consultancy to help in this phase of the project.
After the conclusion of the market sounding exercise, the SSC will decide whether or not to proceed with a re-tender.
Should there be a re-tender, the estimated launch date would be the third quarter 2013 and the timeline of the project will be planned thereafter.
Compensation to SG Changi will depend on whether there is a re-tender or not.
Artist impression of what was to be the Changi Motorsports Hub
After what has happened with all the corruption and internal rift with the winning consortium of the CMH, I believe the SSC will be extra cautious in dealing out the contract.
There is still hope that Singapore can get its race track, but should there be a more prospective sports-related business concept for that piece of land, then motorsports might have to take a back seat.
Now that we are back to the drawing board, interested parties can start putting together proposals for the piece of land in Changi. I am still hoping for a race track but I won’t deny that it will be quite a challenge to come up with a profitable business plan for a permanent circuit. It is not impossible and can be financially sustainable if done right though.
There are many valid societal reasons to have our own track – such as the need for a place to hold driving lessons for owners of high performance cars so they can understand their machines and handle them better to prevent high-speed fatal crashes.
Having a race track is more than just giving the enthusiasts the opportunity to go racing or watch their racing idols in action, but it is part of public education in terms of driver safety, opening up the country to delve deeper into research and development in cars and its engineering (which in turn leads to more jobs) and taking illegal racing off the streets into a controlled and safe environment.
With Singapore’s economic prowess, having a race track will open up more doors on the international investment front too.
It is a place where dreams will be made.
My fingers are crossed.