Wealthy petrolheads are being offered residences to own as part of a luxury trackside hotel.
Maggots and Becketts is one of the finest corner complexes on any international racing circuit in the world.
Almost any race car tackling Silverstone’s rapid right-left-right is a stunning spectacle, let alone Formula 1 cars, which can pull around 6.5g, with the forces visible to the naked eye.
I felt very privileged to be overlooking these corners – as well as Copse plus turns three, four and five in the infield section beyond – from a three-storey height at the recent British Grand Prix weekend.
It’s the same privilege that those who stay at the new Escapade buildings will feel from – hopefully – next year.
Having secured a huge, 14-acre tract of land behind Maggots and Becketts, Escapade Living plans to build 60 luxury residences and a clubhouse overlooking the circuit.
It’s run by Will Tindall, who has established himself building luxury resorts and branded residential properties across Asia, through a company named Emerging Advisory.
You might see this as the rich coming in and building something unwelcoming right inside the cathedral of British motorsport, but the concept is not for luxury penthouses going empty for most of the year. Instead, buyers are effectively investing in a year-round hotel, in doing so gaining staying privileges.
In this sense, it’s entirely different from the fantastic but extremely exclusive Thermal resort in California, US, where petrolheads can purchase a plot of land adjacent to the purpose-built track and build a house to their own specifications, letting their imaginations run wild.
Thankfully, Escapade is targeting well-heeled petrolheads, rather than just prospectors. Indeed, sharing the guest car park with us during our visit were the likes of a Porsche Taycan, a Rolls-Royce Ghost and a Ferrari F40, and focus was primarily on the racing, rather than the fancy food and champagne being served up.
And reassuringly, none of this could have been possible without the approval of Silverstone and its owner, the British Racing Drivers’ Club – which we were told took “a lot of convincing” of Escapade’s good intentions and of the financial benefits to the track this could bring. This is particularly important seeing as the BRDC is not a typical profit-above-all business but an invitation-only organisation for racing drivers.
The Escapade properties themselves are tall, glass-fronted, modernist boxes, as you would expect. There will be three types: Trackside (15), affording amazing views of the track for up to 16 people; and then behind them Dual-Aspect (10) for up to 12 and Countryside (35) for up to eight.
The last two types have no direct views of the track but guaranteed access to the luxurious clubhouse, which will sit right alongside the grandstand at Maggots and Becketts.
For a price of between around £650,000 and £1.7 million (AUD$1.3m and $3.2m), buyers get a 125-year lease on their building and are given a staying allowance of 100 days per year – with the caveat that high-demand events count extra (Formula 1 is fivefold, while British Superbikes, MotoGP, BTCC and the Silverstone Classic count double).
The rest of the time, you simply allow Escapade and Silverstone to manage your property and watch 35 per cent of the revenue generated roll in – apparently the average profit margin on “a well-run establishment”.
Other benefits include year-round use of the clubhouse, free access to all major race events and discounted track-day access. It’s also planned that there will be a car storage and maintenance facility, much like at Thermal, using local specialists to maintain owners’ classics and rarities.
It certainly seems like a worthwhile investment opportunity if you have the proceeds and love cars and racing, especially when you consider that every hotel anywhere near Silverstone – which isn’t many, given it’s out in the Northamptonshire countryside – is booked up well in advance of any race, and that most rich attendees instead stay in London and then arrive by car or helicopter.