Could motorsports become a major industry in football-obsessed Nigeria? It will be if one Nigerian businessman has his way.
London-based entrepreneur Ribi Adeshokan has entered his country into the lavish and highly-competitive world of car racing and has ambitious plans to drive African motorsport and build a multi-million dollar racing industry on the continent.
Called Nigeria Racing Eagle (NRE), the team says it hopes to compete at major motor racing events over the next few months, including the FIA GT3 series and sports car endurance races.
Adeshokan, who recently appointed veteran British motorsport executive John Wickham as team manager, says that right now there is a “50-50″ chance for NRE to be ready for the GT3 race in Moscow in early September.
As a result, GRC is looking to develop a racing championship in Nigeria and is also setting up a domestic academy to develop young drivers and prepare them to compete at the global stage. It has also teamed up with Tiger Racing, a UK-based sports car manufacturer, to create a development center to train young mechanics and engineers in the West African country.
In addition, Adeshokan says he’s partnered with local authorities in Lagos to develop a “Monaco-style” circuit on the streets of the city’s marina to host an international motorsport grand prix.
Adeshokan believes Nigerians can emulate the successful example of British cycling — which has become an international tour de force in recent years– and dominate the world of motorsport in the future.
“In 10 years I’d be incredibly disappointed if we didn’t have a Formula One driver and I’d be very disappointed if we didn’t have a Formula One driver who is winning races,” added Collins.