x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Start your bids, racing car fans told

Stock cars used in the defunct Speedcar racing series in Dubai are hitting the auction block - with video.

Liquidators want to sell all of the Speedcar gear, including 27 cars that are capable of speeds of 225kph, in one lot.
Liquidators want to sell all of the Speedcar gear, including 27 cars that are capable of speeds of 225kph, in one lot.

Motorsport fans dreaming of owning their own 620 horsepower stock car have a chance to fulfil their fantasy.

All the equipment from the defunct Speedcar racing series, an attempt to bring Nascar-style racing to Dubai's Autodrome, are on the auction block.

The sale includes spare engines, tools, telemetry systems and shipping containers, in addition to 27 cars capable of speeds of about 225kph.

Liquidators have been trying to sell the equipment as one lot for the past year, with an asking price of US$1.5 million (Dh5.5m).

"We got some very strong interest but they were not in a position to finalise," said Will Hancock, the head of operations for GoIndustry DoveBid, the UK auction house handling the sale.

Now buyers will be able to bid on specific items, including individual cars.

The Speedcar series was organised in 2008 under the umbrella of a holding company created by Union Properties, the developer of the Autodrome and MotorCity. The series attracted former Formula One drivers such as Jean Alessi, Johnny Herbert, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jacques Villenueve, but lasted only two years.

When the series was liquidated after the 2009 season, the company listed Dh153m in liabilities, primarily to Union Properties. Herbert, who won the first season of the Speedcar series, is owed more than Dh620,000, according to court filings.

The Speedcar company was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and the liquidation is following the islands' procedures, which are less complex than those in Dubai, said Shabbar Dhalla of Griffins, the company handling the liquidation.

The cars and mechanical gear, which are stored in a MotorCity warehouse, are the main assets of the company, Mr Dhalla said.

The liquidators would like to sell all the gear in one lot, but they will entertain online bids for the equipment until June 1.

The auction house is not releasing a reserve price for the cars and tools, Mr Hancock said.

"It's not an easy thing to value," he said.

There are no race series currently using the cars, which have been modified beyond Nascar standards.

A likely buyer might be someone interested in starting a new series, Mr Hancock said. Other possibilities include racing schools or companies offering people a chance to experience what it is like to drive a race car.

"The engines are 620 horsepower," Mr Hancock said. "When you crank them up they can be pretty quick."