Toole County, Utah commissioners made a surprise announcement on Tuesday, that Miller Motorsports Park has been sold to Chinese company Mitime Investment and Development group for $20 million. You may not have heard of Mitime, but you’ve probably heard of its parent company, Geely, which is China’s largest car company and current owner of Volvo.

Originally constructed in 2006 by Salt Lake City billionaire and Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller, the track was left to Toole County in 2014 after the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies (Miller passed away in 2009) decided not to renew its lease on the property. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, county commissioners opted to sell the track rather than shut it down.

That being the case, all track operations will continue as they were and all 90 employees at Miller Motorsports Park will keep their jobs. The 23-turn, 4.48-mile track currently hosts several sports car races, including a round of the Pirelli World Challenge, and motorcycle races. Its also home to the Ford Performance Racing School and formerly hosted rounds of the American Le Mans Series.

MMP’s new owners also a have a few updates and additions in mind. Both an oval test track and drag strip are planned, as well as a new hotel that will house Geely drivers, mechanics, and any other personnel with business at the track.

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Why it matters

Similar to the Suzuka Circuit in Japan, which is owned by Honda, MMP will likely function as both a racing venue and corporate test track for Volvo and Geely. Volvo’s recent wholesale acquisition of Polestar means we should start seeing more high-performance Volvos very soon, and a venue to test and showcase fast Volvos in North America should help raise the brand’s profile.

It’s also a win for Geely, who has emerged as a savior to both the track and surrounding local economy. Americans aren’t exactly chomping at the bit to buy Chinese cars, so any act of goodwill should be mutually beneficial, at least in terms of perception.

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

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