Boy racers terrorising the streets of Ipswich have impressed Formula One bosses so much that they have now agreed to add an Ipswich Grand Prix to the F1 racing calendar.
F1 mastermind Bernie Ecclestone, who was born in Suffolk, was so taken aback with the speed of youths on the streets around Cardinal Park and the docks one-way system that he was inspired to bring his multi-billion-pound racing circus to Ipswich.
His negotiators have been working in secret with Ipswich borough chiefs on a circuit layout that will take in Ipswich Waterfront, have a pit lane at KFC and the start/finish line outside Staples.
An F1 insider said: “The middle section of the lap will be a high-speed stretch through Neptune Quay – it will be just like racing in Monaco past the marina there.
“The circuit is an exciting one, just as street circuits always are, with many corners and narrow stretches. However, what we will see is plenty of overtaking opportunities on some of the straights.”
Bringing Formula One to Ipswich will be worth millions to the town’s economy, with hundreds of thousands coming to watch the spectacle, and millions tuning in from around the world to watch the race on television.
The deal will be announced after the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 5, but the Suffolk Gazette understands Silverstone will remain in the 2016 calendar alongside Ipswich.
The F1 insider added: “Silverstone will still be the British F1 Grand Prix, whereas Ipswich will be branded as the English F1 Grand Prix. We’re very excited to be bringing Grand Prix racing to Ipswich.”
Ipswich police have been fighting a long battle against boy racers in the town, who zoom around Grafton Way and the other roads around the Cardinal Park retail complex.They also race around the docks one-way system including, Star Lane and College Street.
But all those roads will now feature in the F1 circuit, and police hope the town’s youngsters will be inspired by professional racers.
One policeman said: “Seeing the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso racing around the streets of Ipswich should be something special, and we hope it will be enough of an adrenaline rush for local teens. We believe they will stick to watching rather than copying.”
The arrival of F1 will mean much of Ipswich will be sealed off for five days on the week of the event, penciled in for September 2016. However, local townsfolk will be grateful for the cash boost – while all the roads will be resurfaced in advance of the spectacle.
“It’s a super way to get rid of all the pot holes for free,” said one local businessman.