The founder of Europe’s biggest chain of go-karting tracks has netted a multi-million-pound fortune after selling the business in a management buyout worth £9 million.
Paul Wrightman, who launched TeamSport in 1991 with one track in Guildford, south-west of London, is understood to have sold most of his stake in the firm for about £7m to the firm’s managing director Dom Gaynor, backed by investors including Game retail chain co-founder Neil Taylor.
Wrightman will stay on in an advisory role at the group and retain a minority stake.
TeamSport – which is headquartered in Farnham, Surrey, and employs about 300 people – currently has nine tracks in the south of England and Wales, but plans to extend this to 16 across the UK by 2016.
Customers of TeamSport have included celebrities including singers Ellie Goulding and Tulisa Contostavlos, teen sensation One Direction and X Factor’s Simon Cowell.
TeamSport said more than 250,000 people karted on its tracks in 2012 after a 40 per cent hike in visitor numbers over the past three years.
The firm recently opened a track at Tower Bridge, London, It has sites in Brighton, Bristol, Camberley, Cardiff, Crawley, Eastleigh, Gosport and Edmonton in North London.
Its karts cost some £6,000 each and can get up to speeds of around 40 miles per hour.