As the sun sets on the second visit of the FIM World Superbike Championship to the beautiful Pertimina Mandalika International Street Circuit, the ori...
EXPERTS IN THE DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATION OF MOTORSPORT VENUES
ABOUT MRK1 CONSULTING
Mrk1 Consulting was established in 2013 to fill a gap in the market for business consultants experienced in the operation of motorsport venues. Historically, investors planning to build a race track, drag strip, vehicle testing facility, high speed oval or any other motoring activity venue, would either turn to traditional, generic business consultants for advice or they would simply go ahead without understanding the best practices in the industry or how to create a sustainable venue.
Using over twenty years of experience and the knowledge attained whilst operating tracks in multiple countries, we are able to guide clients through the challenges associated with planning, implementing, operating and sustaining a new motorsport venue. Mrk1 Consulting provides qualitative information and support, which in turn allows our clients to realize their goals. In addition, Mrk1 Consulting supports existing motorsport venues by analyzing and reviewing their operation enabling them to create a more sustainable and profitable business. Mrk1 Consulting has played a crucial role in the evolution of motorsport globally and making circuit ownership a realistic commercial opportunity.
Project FeasibilityA crucial part of any business planning process is the initial feasibility study. Is the proposed project sustainable? Does it meet the client’s goals, ideas and aspirations? Mrk1 Consulting works with clients at the earliest stages to establish what those aspirations are and then helps to develop a robust plan to achieve those goals. This process generates data and documentation to allow clients to make informed decisions. Our reports help to develop investment literature and also facilitate the process of government approvals and support. It is often at this stage that we work closely with our clients to identify suitable land for any development if this hasn’t already been done.
Tender Preparation & EvaluationFinding the right partners for any project is essential. Mrk1 Consulting assist clients in this process using years of experience and knowledge of the key suppliers and best practice in the industry. We prepare a full commercial tender for crucial components of the project such as track design and architectural services, master planning, homologation and detail design as well as suppliers of services or materials. The tender process includes management of site visits for bidders, preparation of support materials, processing all queries and clarifications and preparing the supporting contract paperwork. To finalize the process we carry out a complete commercial and technical evaluation of all bids allowing our clients to make an informed decision on which suppliers to utilize.
Project ManagementEfficient and effective project management is crucial to delivering a project on time and on budget. Mrk1 Consulting have been appointed on a number of major motorsport developments that have been constructed in record time and within budget. We are able to embed experienced members of the Mrk1 Consulting team within the client’s organization or support clients on either an ad-hoc or full time basis subject to the client’s specific requirements. During this phase of a development, we will represent our client’s interests using our knowledge and experience to ensure that the track designers, the construction companies and the suppliers perform within the framework of their contract. In addition, we also ensure complete compliance with the sports governing bodies and, where applicable, identify issues, minimize risk and work on solutions for any challenges that arise throughout this crucial period.
Circuit OperationsCircuit Operations were the initial foundation of Mrk1 Consulting and still remain our core service to this day. Arguably we have more experience of running circuits globally than any other organization having operated tracks in Europe, the Middle East and Central and South East Asia. Mrk1 Consulting offers a full turnkey track operations service from individual specialist staff placement to the deployment of an entire workforce. Typically we will work hand in hand with clients, whether from existing circuits or a new build track, to develop a solution that is sustainable, appropriate to their business model and maximizes the local resources available to them. Our world-class team includes personnel with vast experience in track operations, track administration, race organization, commercial sales, marketing and PR, sponsorship and long term business strategy. Collectively our circuits host in excess of 100 race events per season, catering for the needs of over 350,000 spectators as well as thousands of manufacturer, corporate and retail track events each year.
Yas Marina Circuit - Abu Dhabi, UAE
In early 2019, Mrk1 were asked to support Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management with the task of modifying the Formula One track to create a more exciting layout that encourages closer racing. Working closely with ADMM, Formula One, the FIA, the Emirates Motorsports Organization and our partners, Driven International, we took on the task of not only redesigning the track but also project management of the construction from a safety and compliance perspective. This project was not without its challenges including a strict time frame, limited budget and the travel restrictions from Covid 19. The project was delivered on time, on budget and the changes met with universal praise. The changes also contributed to one of the most thrilling championship deciding races in the history of Formula One.
Baku City Circuit - Baku, Azerbaijan
Baku City Circuit appointed Mrk1 Consulting to develop event operational plans and budgets and also identify and appoint key event partners such as marshal training providers, safety planners and security teams.
PrimRing - Vladivostok, Russia
Mrk1 Consulting was introduced to the PrimRing project by the track designers, Apex, who were looking to support their client with a circuit operations resource. Our remit was to assist PrimRing with the development of a clear commercial strategy for the initial phase of the project which was a CIK International karting circuit, drifting zone, MotoX course, Off Road Experience and numerous leisure rental properties as well as a children’s activity zone. Following the successful collaboration between Mrk1 Consulting and PrimRing, the venue has continued to grow each year with an increase in customers, spectators and events. Mrk1 Consulting was retained to further assist the client with government lobbying, raising further investment, development of an educational program in conjunction with the local university and refining the master plan for the site.
Kuwait Motor Town - Kuwait
Kuwait Motor Town (KMT), Kuwait is the most comprehensive motorsport and driving facility in the Middle East. The venue includes an FIA Grade 1/FIM Grade A 5.6km race circuit with multiple configurations, challenging corners and over 15m of elevation change. In addition, KMT has an NHRA dragster track, CIK karting facility, FIM MotoX and FIA RallyX tracks, dynamic/handling course and off-road driving area. Mrk1 Consulting oversaw the final stages of development and the successful FIA Grade 1 homologation of the track. We ensured the venue was operationally ready prior to hosting the first three months of track activity which saw numerous events including manufacturer events, regional drag races, track attack sprints, KMT open track days, FIM MotoX competition and a 24hr karting race.
Canadian Motor Speedway - Niagara, Canada
The Canadian Motor Speedway (CMS) will be Canada’s first oval race circuit. This world-class development is located in Fort Erie, Niagara, close to the border with the United States. CMS will be the only high speed oval capable of hosting the hugely popular NASCAR championship in Canada. Mrk1 Consulting is a key strategic partner to CMS and we have been appointed to offer strategic advice on circuit operations and commercial development.
Laumes International Circuit
Mrk1 Consulting were appointed as lead consultants on this incredible 790-hectare mixed use development, 75km from Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Our initial scope included understanding and refining the client requirements, developing the business plan in conjunction with their global real estate consultant, assistance in finding the right site for the development, creating the tender for master-planning and track design services.
Lake Torrent - Coalisland, Northern Ireland
Lake Torrent was the vision of a Northern Irish entrepreneur with a passion for motorcycle racing. Mrk1 was appointed to work with the client on evaluating the feasibility of the project, carry out operational reviews of the proposed designs and review the proposed site for the project.
Mandalika International Street Circuit - Lombok, Indonesia
Mrk1 Consulting, in partnership with RoadGrip Motorsport Indonesia (RMI), has been instrumental in the development of the world’s first, purpose-built street circuit to host MotoGP™. The Mandalika Grand Prix Association (MGPA) appointed Mrk1 to undertake the detailed design of the track as well as appointing Mrk1 staff in key roles on the project including Interim Chief Operating Officer. In addition, RMI & Mrk1 provided the core operational team and event management services for the inaugral FIM World SBK and Moto GP races.
Jeddah Corniche Circuit - Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Mrk1 is the most experienced track operator in the Middle East and was the logical choice for the Saudi Motorsport Company when they needed specialist staff for the first ever Formula One race held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The team deployed to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit during the pre-construction phase to assist the client in the development of the facility and the event planning. As the event drew closer, Mrk1 deployed a full time team of track operations staff to work closely with the Saudi Arabian staff in the successful delivery of the Grand Prix. This record breaking venue, constructed in only eight months, has the accolade of being the longest and fastest street circuit on the calendar. In March 2022 SMC, supported by the Mrk1 team successfully hosted the Kingdoms second Formula One race. The Mrk1 track operations team continues to support SMC in the day to day operation of the facility and the planning for the FIA WTCR championship as well as other races planned in the near future.
Chang International Circuit - Buriram, Thailand
Mrk1 Consulting was appointed to support CIC during the construction phase, monitoring the development of the site and trouble-shooting as construction progressed. In parallel to this, we were asked to develop a complete operational plan for the venue including budgets, structures, standard operating procedures, major incident plans and a commercial strategy. We were then asked to provide circuit management services to CIC and to deliver a comprehensive knowledge transfer program which included the identification, recruitment and training of all key local personnel. As well as the day-to-day running of the circuit and delivery of standard corporate and retail track events, the Mrk1 Consulting team successfully delivered rounds of the World Superbikes, Japanese Super GT, Thai Super Series, TCR International, GT Asia and Thai Superbikes.
Zhejiang Circuit - Shaoxing, China
Zhejiang Circuit (ZC) is China’s newest motorsport venue and has significantly raised the bar for motorsport in China. Located 200km south west of Shanghai in the city of Shaoxing, this beautiful Grade 2 circuit includes a luxurious private members' club (Z Club), stylish 52 room boutique hotel, a CIK world championship standard karting track and a range of commercial units. Mrk1 Consulting was appointed to provide operational management of the circuit and give on-going support with commercial strategy, race event development and future business planning. The Mrk1 Consulting team successfully identified, recruited and trained all circuit operations staff and is undertaking a comprehensive knowledge transfer program covering all track operation functions.
Founder & Managing Director
Mark’s motorsport career started with rallying, initially as a marshal, then a driver before moving on to manage major sponsors for the British Rally Championship and the UK round of the World Rally Championship. Mark transferred seamlessly from rallying events into a successful venue management career starting as General Manager for CSMA Motorplex and then Operations Manager for Brands Hatch. In 2004 Mark ventured overseas for the first time moving to the Bahrain International Circuit for the role of Operations Director. Mark was asked to establish a core operations team, budgets and procedures as well as to develop all corporate and retail products and introduce new sporting events. After almost 6 years in Bahrain Mark was then asked to help Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi prepare for its inaugural Formula One™ race in 2009. Following on from the enormously successful events in the Middle East, Mark’s services were then in demand from India where he was asked to oversee the final phase of design and then construction of the brand new Buddh International Circuit just outside of New Delhi. During this time Mark also introduced all of the operational planning components to allow Jaypee Sports to deliver India’s first ever Formula One™ Grand Prix. In 2010, Mark was coaxed back to Yas Marina Circuit as Operations Director with a specific remit to control spiraling costs, streamline the operation and recruit and train national staff to take over the operation of the venue. All tasks Mark excelled at and where he exceeded the board’s expectations. After over 20 years working for circuits and events, Mark had built up an enviable reputation and decided to use that experience and knowledge to establish Mrk1 Consulting. The primary focus of Mrk1 Consulting is to help guide new race facilities through the challenges that many businesses face during start up. In addition to this, Mrk1 Consulting works closely with a number of existing facilities looking to review their business model, address operational concerns, improve cost effectiveness and quality and increase long-term sustainability. Mark's knowledge of motorsport venues is second to none and his ability to meet and exceed the expectations of manufacturers, championships and the circuit owners has meant that Mrk1 Consulting’s services are in great demand.
Marketing & Administration
Suzie has a bachelor’s degree in hotel and catering management. She began her event management career working for a highly successful conference and events provider in the south of England. In 2004, Suzie returned home to Bahrain, where she was the natural choice for Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) when they were looking for someone to lead their events department. Joining BIC and helping to establish a core events team, she was instrumental in the delivery of hundreds of events annually including international and national race series, testing, product launches, media events, banquets and conferencing. As a result of her efficient management and world-class execution of these events BIC quickly established a reputation as a leading venue for all MICE events. Following on from the success at BIC, Suzie then put her event management and catering skills to great use when she was asked to help establish the catering operation for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2009. Suzie co-founded Mrk1 Consulting in 2013 and continues to grow the business through her role as Marketing & Administration Director.
Gary Palmer has been a familiar face around British motorsport for over 25 years and his love for the sport is as strong today as it was back then. At the age of 19 he was a competitive racer quickly moving into international competition, the highlight of which was leading the Renault Clio V6 championship at the Monaco Grand Prix. He has actively competed in various championships around Europe. As a skilled driver, it was only natural that Gary found his instructing skills were in demand and very soon he was one of the most sought after and qualified instructors in Europe. Becoming a Grade A, ARDS race instructor led to him recruiting and training many of the new instructors as well as working for all of the European circuits and most, if not all, manufacturers. Gary was deployed in Shaoxing, China as Mrk1’s Circuit Manager at the Zhejiang Circuit. He successfully recruited a large core team of Chinese national staff including a deputy circuit manager, instructors, marshals, mechanics and customer service personnel. After two years in China and the completion of a knowledge transfer program, Gary moved to Kuwait where he oversaw the operational planning and delivery for Kuwait Motor Town. In 2021, Mrk1 were appointed to oversee the track operations for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's first ever Formula One circuit. Gary relocated to Jeddah and is based full time at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit where he leads the Mrk1 Track Operations team in the day to day track operations and major event planning.
Circuit & Race Management
Tony’s motorsport career began at Brands Hatch where Tony was an integral part of the team. Having gained a broad range of experience at one of the UK’s busiest circuits, Tony was a natural choice when the Bahrain International Circuit were looking to train and develop their local staff. Tony remained at the Bahrain International Circuit for nearly 6 years where his duties included circuit management, track safety and the development and running of all corporate and retail driving activities including the identification and recruitment of over 45 regional instructors. Knowledge transfer is a key ingredient to the success of Mrk1 and this was where Tony excelled in Bahrain. After such a successful stint in Bahrain, Tony was once again a natural choice for the newest Middle Eastern track, Yas Marina Circuit. Tony was employed initially as Senior Instructor to set up one of the best race schools in the world and subsequently took over circuit management. In 2014, Tony was asked to lead the Mrk1 team during the construction and then operation of Thailand's first FIA Grade 1 and FIM Grade A race track – Chang International Circuit (CIC) in Buriram. CIC quickly established itself as one of the busiest and most commercially successful tracks in the world. Key to the success of Mrk1's management of CIC was the knowledge transfer programme used to identify, recruit, train and retain local staff. Opening the track with the Japanese GT Championship event in 2014, CIC saw an incredible 110,000 spectators on race day. Since then the circuit has hosted the MotoGP, World Superbike Championship, World Touring Car Championship, TCR International, GT Asia, Asian Road Racing Championship and countless national events. More recently Tony has been the Race Director for TCR International, TCR Europe and Ferrari Challenge Asia, as well as carrying out the role of Race Director for World Superbikes, GT Asia, Thai Super Series and TCR Asia. In parallel to this, Tony continues to work for Mrk1 and was a core part of the team that delivered the Mandalika International Circuit and the MotoGP and World Superbike events in Indonesia.
Feasibility & Business Planning
Ricky has over 20 years of business development experience from the hospitality and tourism industry where market research, financial planning and commercial strategy are critical. In 2017, whilst working for the Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation he was responsible for the concept master planning of the 1200 hectare resort “The Mandalika”. The vision for "The Mandalika" included a desire to create the worlds first MotoGP street circuit, a circuit designed, developed and delivered in conjunction with Mrk1. Ricky was appointed CEO of the Mandalika Street Circuit, a role that included all commercial and operational oversight. During his time at the circuit, he was instrumental in the successful delivery of Indonesia's first ever World Superbike race and the country's first MotoGP race in over 20 years. Ricky recently began working with Mrk1, where his commercial strategy expertise has proven invaluable in our rapidly growing feasibility and business planning division.
As part of Mrk1, John has made it his mission to support motorsport in its goal of moving towards and reaching their NetZero targets. With over 20 years of asset management experience for large blue-chip companies, John has experience of dealing with projects and contracts in excess of $US1bn in value. In 2015 John decided to personally invest in, advise and consult for companies that wanted to improve their efficiency and effectiveness and to grow more sustainably. Through his work with companies ranging from alternative energy to petrochemical processing, financial technology to food nutrition, John knows he can assist those companies who don’t necessarily have the best current Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) ratings. Companies and organisations that are willing to make the necessary significant improvements and become an example to others. John will combine his decades of real-life experience and his passion for motorsport to offer and support innovative and creative solutions for the industry. Solutions that are clearly actionable and realistic, to help them find the best, which often also means cost-effective solutions, towards their sustainability goals. John holds an MA in Economics and Politics, an MSc in Investment Analysis, CFA (UK) Designation , and successfully completed an INSEAD Leadership Development Programme.
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PO Box 82039 Budaiya Kingdom of Bahrain
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Our MD @markhughesF1