A1GP: Your chance to buy an open-wheel motor racing series
By LJ Hutchins
Thursday, March 25th, 2010
The company handling the sale of A1GP’s assets is stepping up its bid to find a buyer for the series with an invitation for interested parties to get in touch to arrange a private sale.
The sale, following the series’ insolvency, is being handled by global asset management company GoIndustry DoveBid, and its website shows 39 lots including the series old Lola chassis, moulds, spares, clothing and tools.
The sale specifications include 20 of the Ferrari-inspired race cars used in Adam Carroll’s Team Ireland championship campaign, 14 of the Lola B05/52 cars used in the series’ previous seasons, and Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT Semi-Auto four-door and Ferrari 599GTB Semi-Auto Coupe safety and medical cars
The opportunity also exists to buy the entire current assets in one batch including the intellectual property rights to the A1GP series’ logos and brands. The company says it is searching for a buyer “in an effort to keep the popular race series alive”.
If it does not succeed then the assets are likely to be sold off separately, potentially by auction.
The equipment is shown as being stored at Dunsfold in Surrey, the location of the airfield where Top Gear is filmed, and also thought to be the place where the cars resided during the long-running battle over their ownership.
David Hampson of GoIndustry DoveBid Valuation Services, says in the company’s press release on the subject: “Offers are currently being invited for the whole asset package, including the intellectual property rights to the A1GP series logos and brands.”
Tim Bramston, a partner with Griffins, the administrator of A1 Grand Prix Operations Ltd, adds: “We are delighted to be co-operating on this sale for the benefit of all of the creditors.
“We took the step of administration in order to reunite the Ferrari-powered cars with the intellectual property rights to use the brand.
“The vehicles have now been laid out for inspection in a single location and discussions are already under way with a number of interested parties.
“We are currently aiming to have a purchaser of A1GP assets in place by the end of March.”
Tony Murphy, a partner at Bridge Business Recovery, the liquidators of A1GP’s parent company A1 Holdings Ltd, is the final member of the team to be quoted: “The intention is to market the series as a complete package.
“We are highly confident that a buyer can be found for the combined pool of assets and with it the prospect of the A1GP series returning to our TV screens at some point in the near future.
“Not only that but the purchaser will command the commercial benefits and prestige associated with running the ‘World Cup of Motorsport’ series.”
Sounds very positive and promising. However, we wouldn’t advise getting your hopes up too far just yet.
We cannot help but remember how it is the job of all the above-quoted people to talk up the series prospects as hard as possible in order to maximise the value of the assets and get as much cash in hand as they can to pay creditors. It is absolutely what they are engaged to do.
If that results in a sale for the entire series, that will be a big boost for fans who regret its passing and would like to see it resurrected.
But we are strongly reminded of the Donington Park administrator who felt the circuit had a promising future as a Formula One venue from 2011 onwards – only to see the sale of its lease fall through entirely.
In addition, anyone looking to set up a race series from scratch might also want to contemplate the currently-unused (and much-loved) Champ Car DP01 machines, the mothballed Atlantic Championship’s fleet of Swift 016.a cars, or the Dallara GP2/05, which has just been retired from GP2 Asia action.
The biggest stumbling block to a complete sale of A1GP’s assets as a going concern is, paradoxically, the series’ link to one of the biggest names in motorsport – Ferrari.
The A1GP series assets were made to be compatible with Ferrari engines. Therefore the new buyer would need to do a deal with Ferrari if it was to continue to use the chassis and engines. In effect, Ferrari would have to OK the deal.
A1GP is also the subject of a fraud investigation in Queensland, Australia, after it failed to honour a commitment to attend the first of five annual events at the Surfers Paradise motorsport festival. The investigation centres on the negotiation and oversight of contracts.
Last weekend the News of the World ran an exclusive interview with former series spokeswoman Ann Bradshaw, who told the newspaper that its boss Tony Teixeira was still determined to save the series and fighting to get investment so it could continue.
He is reportedly less interested in the assets than in starting from scratch with the brand and rebuilding the series. Things Tony Teixeira is confident about haven’t exactly headed the league table for credibility recently, but if you want to know more, the link is here.