The karting track owned by Michael Schumacher is set for a revamp, and has been saved from being demolished after a new lease was agreed for its survival.
The land around the Erftlandring, owned by the seven-time former World Champion near his childhood home in Kerpen, was bought by German energy firm RWE as it looked to mine lignite coal, but protests from environmental groups stopped the mining from happening.
The future of Schumacher’s track, where the German legend began his own racing career as a young driver, had been uncertain. But Gerhard Noack, president of the karting club in the area, confirmed the track will remain open, “making Michael’s dream come true” in doing so, having learned his skills at the circuit.
There are hopes the planned renovations at the track will enable organisers to host high-ranking kart races in Kerpen, bringing aspiring young racers to the area with new facilities.
“We have sealed a lease agreement with RWE for 10 years plus an option for five more, and can now invest the money from the sale in the necessary renovation,” Noack told the Kolner Express.
“A buy-back was not possible because the site is still a mining area. We pay a moderate lease and it doesn’t matter whether we pay it to Schumacher or to RWE.
“The access roads and the track are being resurfaced, we are building new CIK kerbs and double safety fences so we can again organise international races such as the World Cup, European Championship and WSK.
“We are making Michael’s dream come true and will keep the sports facility on which he learned to walk for a long time to come.”
The former Ferrari driver’s health remains a strictly private matter, and while Noack did not elaborate on any news surrounding Schumacher’s condition he feels he will be pleased with the news.
“I don’t know how he’s doing and I’m not asking Rolf [Schumacher’s father] anymore because the family is asking for Michael’s privacy,” he added.
“But I think he and son Mick, who he taught karting here, will be happy [with the news].”
Away from the track, two of Schumacher’s road cars are set to be up for auction this week, following on from Fernando Alonso’s Renault R24 chassis going under the hammer in Paris.
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