Michael Schumacher's famous kart track has been saved from demolition after funding was secured to protect its long-term future.
The seven-time World Champion began his career at the Erftlandring, a venue near his home town of Kerpen-Manhein that he owns. But there were fears for the circuit in 2016 when energy company RWE purchased parts of the surrounding area with the intention to expand lignite mining.
Whilst there was oppositon to the plans, it looked like the track would be removed when RWE presented a compensation offer in January 2018. Yet, two years later, the company decided against the original plans after protests by environmentalists.
This appeared to secure the short-term future of the circuit but, with RWE still owning the land, there remained doubts. However, the management of the Erftlandring have agreed a lease deal with RWE which ensures that the track will stay.
Improvements can begin at Schumacher's kart track
Improvements can now be made to the track using the funds that were originally paid for the sale of the land, and this will allow for world championship events to again be held at the venue.
There are also plans to build a new circuit for electric karts.
"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," Gerhard Noack, President of the local kart club, told local newspaper Kölner Express.
"The access roads and the track will be resurfaced, and we will build new kerbs and double catch fences, so that we can organise international races like the world championships, the European championships and WSK again."
Schumacher himself took part in the last world championship event at the Erftlandring back in 2001, where he competed against many well-known names in their younger days. Amongst them were Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Vitantonio Liuzzi.
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