Banking on the future

Entrepreneurs had spent 50 years trying to persuade the owners to sell Sitges — to no avail. Their on-site chicken farm was too successful to give up. So why is Peter Schömer on the verge of succeeding where others have failed?

He admits the timing was right: the owner had retired, and Catalonia's attitude to its heritage has recently changed.

"They really want to protect it now," says Schömer, a Canadian of German extraction. "So when the mayor of Sant Pere de Ribes [the track doesn't actually lie on Sitges land!] phoned the farmer to say that, legally, he had to look after the track, it was clear he was in no position to do so. He was ready to sell."

Schömer wants to create a Motorsport Resort. He has one planned in Majorca, but the potential of Sitges has seen it take priority. Before you recoil, he is adamant that the track and buildings will be faithfully restored — for historic demos, maybe racing: 'Why would you want to change it? I couldn't believe it when I first saw it. This is an amazing, fantastic, place."