July 18, 2012 / 1:28 PM / in 8 years

Motor racing-Nuerburgring to file for insolvency

FRANKFURT, July 18 (Reuters) - The owner of the Nuerburgring race track is set to file for insolvency, the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate said on Wednesday, blaming the European Commission for taking too long to approve a rescue package.

Nuerburgring GmbH, 90 percent owned by the state, ran into financial trouble amid a dispute with the track’s operator over leasing fees, and Rhineland-Palatinate has sought to restructure the company with the help of a bridge financing package.

“But at the end of last week, (the Commission) indicated that it may not reach a positive decision on the application for aid before July 30,” by which time Nuerburgring GmbH will be unable to pay its bills, the state said in a statement.

Nuerburgring hosts the German Grand Prix every two years, alternating with Hockenheim, and is due to stage the race next year but its future has appeared uncertain due to the dispute with track operator Nuerburgring Automotive GmbH (NAG) over leasing fees.

Rhineland-Palatinate - under pressure to make the track pay after pouring millions of euros into a racing-themed amusement park there - said earlier this year it was cancelling its leasing contract with NAG, just as the company held talks with Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone over a deal to host the 2013 Grand Prix.

But NAG said on Wednesday it agreed on a concept with Ecclestone last week and was also seeking to win commitments for annual rock festival Rock am Ring and the ADAC Truck Grand Prix for the coming years.

The track is also used by automakers including BMW and Toyota to test cars. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan and Alexander Huebner; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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