THE new owner of Thruxton Circuit has assured residents that he will not be building houses on the track and instead plans to make huge improvements to the popular venue.

Racer and businessman Alex Thistlethwayte took over the circuit on May 1 after Henry Pelham decided to put it up for sale in 2023.

He spoke about his ambitions for the venue in an interview with Motorsport News, which has been shared with the Advertiser

There had been some rumours of interest in the venue from property developers and whispers of the land being turned into a giant distribution centre, but Mr Thistlethwayte has guaranteed the future of racing at Thruxton.

READ MORE: Test Valley tennis courts revamped thanks to investment

Andover Advertiser: The new owner of Thruxton Circuit Alex ThistlethwayteHe said: “A few other people had looked at the site before and mainly what they wanted to do was to knock it all down and build houses.

“I have absolutely no interest in knocking it down and I don’t want to build houses. What I like is the bit of Tarmac that goes around the outside [of the airfield] – the track. It is brilliant and I want us all to go and play on that. This should be great news for Thruxton.”

Mr Thistlethwayte continued: “With a place like this, you can’t just pick one thing and say ‘that’s the bit that is going to make money’, because none of them on their own do. You have got to get everything to work together which, business-wise, is quite an interesting challenge.

“It is not only the different hubs and elements to the businesses, it’s the buildings as well. At the moment, the buildings at Thruxton are tired and they put people off. You need to do the opposite: you need to get the buildings looking the way they should – and that is what I am going to do.”

SEE ALSO: Museum to host exhibition telling stories of people who have migrated to Andover

The finance businessman, who has worked in the energy sector, has lofty ambitions for the circuit.

“I do love this place at a racer myself, but I think it is also a party place,” said Mr Thistlethwayte. “If you think about, for example, Goodwood, how many people go there for the cars and how many people go there for the party? I think people are there for the party…and why aren’t we having that type of event here?

“On a good day here, we will get a nice crowd – say 15,000 perhaps. Goodwood are getting 80,000 – well that’s what they say. There is no reason we shouldn’t be doing that, we have got just as good a site here. We have got some real heritage here with all the RAF stuff that took place here. It is an amazing place and it is beautiful.”

Thruxton has a restriction on the number of race days it can hold, however, Mr Thistlethwayte feels there is enough permitted days to make the track thrive.

“I don’t think we have that few number of days,” he says. “At the moment, we can do 12 race days per year, and we can do four test days. So that is 16 proper noise-making days. We are also allowed to do 120 days with normal noise from the cars – so road cars effectively, and school days or trackdays. I think that is actually quite a lot of activity. How many race days do you need?

SEE MORE: Golden buzzer glory as local lads impress Bruno Tonioli in Britain's Got Talent

Andover Advertiser: “I don’t see that we have too few race days, but I see the challenge is getting the quality right. If we make this place a really exciting place to come, people will come.

“Imagine if we had 16 full race days with lots of people everywhere, that would be about as much as we could handle. It is not about the number of days we have, it is it about the quality that is on offer at Thruxton.”

It’s not just the future offerings under the spotlight, the 57-year-old is also looking at how the facilities can be improved.

“At the moment, [Thruxton] is a bit tired. I don’t hate the pits, but they are too small for modern cars. The only thing I have seen fit in there properly is a Lotus Elan! I can’t tell you when…but there will be, at some point I would imagine, some work on the pits. It is difficult to work out how to do it though because we are going to have to build up the reserves a bit to get there.”

He added: “I just want this place to get better and better and better. If you make it better, then the asset has more value, so it is not a scary thing. Anything I put into this place, I am going to get back.”

READ ALSO: Fashion icon visits silk mill to celebrate its commitment to the endangered craft

Andover Advertiser: Thruxton circuitMr Thistlethwayte has already got some ambitions in place to ramp up what is on offer from the facility in the middle of the track.

“I am looking at the possibility of extending the runways,” he says. “If it is possible to extend them by another 100 metres or so, that allows us to get bigger planes in.

“If you can get bigger planes, you could potentially get smaller private jets in and the turboprop planes too. They are bits of kit which need to be looked after, and we have all the firms based here and capable mechanics who can do that. It just increases the value of the place.”

It has been a long-term ambition of Mr Thistlethwayte to buy Thruxton Circuit.

He said: “I have been going around to anyone who will listen for the last 15 years or so that I wanted to buy Thruxton.”

“Eventually I told the right person and he said to me ‘well, you know it is for sale…’. I jumped at the chance. I had a few conversations with the owner and I ended up buying it.

"It was owned by Henry Pelham, who is in his 80s. He set a wonderful tone at Thruxton and he is like a patriarch. I saw him the other day and I told him I had just worked out that, now, I don’t own Thruxton – it now owns me! He agreed…I am just a custodian really.”

The new owner has also secured the future of the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) which operates the circuit. The club now has a lease for the site, having previously agreed its home with a "gentlemanly handshake".

He said: “I am not going to change any of the set-up that is already here.

“The British Automobile Racing Club are going to continue to operate the circuit. It has a nice long lease [for the next 13 years]. The BARC is not going anywhere, and I don’t want them to go anywhere. Personally, I don’t want to operate car races – I know nothing about organising race meetings – but I do want this place to get a whole lot better.”

Mr Thistlethwayte continued: “Now they actually have a lease but at the end of 13 years, I don’t want to kick them out. Why would I? If I did that, I would have to end up running car races and I don’t want to do that. I know nothing about it."