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LDC backs British racing team

LDC, a UK mid-market private equity house, is supporting one of the new Formula One racing teams led by Manor Motorsport and WR Technology, which will compete for the first time in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship. 

The investment is consistent with LDC’s core investment principles of seeking out unusually attractive market segments. 
 
Manor Motorsport has been successful in Formula 3 and has identified and nurtured future FI champions such as Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Kimi Raikkonen. Manor beat off fierce competition from as many as 20 entrants to secure Formula 1 entry.

Next season, Manor will be re-branded Virgin Racing following a recent multi-million pound sponsorship deal with Sir Richard Branson. 

WRT, part of the Wirth Research Group of companies, is a UK based internationally renowned car designer with success in both Indy Car and the American Le Mans Series cars.
 
Total revenue for the sport last year was estimated at GBP3bn. F1 generates more revenue per event than any other sport in the world with each of the 17 races producing turnover in excess of GBP140m, ten times greater than its closest rival, the NFL. The TV package is a premium source of programming for terrestrial broadcasters throughout the world offering sponsors worldwide audiences of over 600 million viewers per race.
 
Manor Grand Prix is creating more than 100 new jobs, 45 of those at the race operations facility in Dinnington, South Yorkshire and 60 at WRT in Bicester.
 
The deal is LDC’s 14th in 2009, bringing cumulative investment to GBP184m in businesses with a total enterprise value in excess of GBP500m.
 
Etienne de Villiers, chairman of Manor, says: “Everyone involved with the Manor Grand Prix team is delighted to be entering F1 at such an exciting time for the sport. From a very solid engineering base we are looking forward to establishing strong commercial partnerships and an exciting and innovative marketing strategy that will ensure our team makes a very significant contribution to the sport and its immense fan base.”  

Darryl Eales, chief executive of LDC, adds: “Manor represents the combination of a great management, racing pedigree and world class engineering and design; in a unique market segment and in one of the world’s most popular sports.  LDC has a heritage of backing British design and engineering talent and supporting winning teams across every sector. This investment is consistent with our regional focus and management orientated approach.”

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