Longstanding UK circuit Donington Park has been taken over by MotorSport Vision following a new agreement with the circuit’s owner and operator Kevin Wheatcroft was reached. The initial lease for the circuit will be a 21-year term for MSV, which now owns a total of five key circuits and the Bedford Autodrome in the UK under the ownership of Jonathan Palmer and Sir Peter Ogden.
Leicestershire’s Donington Park is one of the UK’s most famous circuits, which has played host to a slew of top tier motorsport series including F1 and Moto GP since its first event in 1931. It also hosts the Download Festival annually and is is the base of the Donington Grand Prix Collection – the largest showcase of its type in the world.
“I am thrilled that MSV has now acquired the Donington circuit business,” commented MSV CEO Palmer. “Donington has incredible history, being the first permanent road circuit in the country and the only circuit upon which the mighty pre-war Auto Unions and Mercedes Grand Prix cars raced in the 1930s.
“Its modern day existence is purely down to the vision and energy of Tom Wheatcroft, whom I admired enormously. I can still remember the excitement of racing at the new Donington in my Marcos, the year it opened in 1977. However my Donington highlight was taking pole position and winning the FIA Formula 2 Championship round in 1983, and being presented with my trophy by Tom Wheatcroft on the podium. I was later privileged to be commentating for BBC TV when Ayrton Senna took his stunning F1 win at Donington in 1993.
“Like many circuits in the UK, Donington has had a turbulent time over the last ten years, though thankfully Kevin Wheatcroft and his team have now recovered the damage done by the previous owner of the business. Donington is a good British circuit that deserves further investment, energy and expertise in order to make it truly outstanding, and MSV will provide this. We plan a great new era for Donington, with some exciting new events and much enhanced quality of experience for all of its customers, whether spectators, competitors and track day participants, together with even better value.”
Kevin Wheatcroft meanwhile, is also extremely pleased to have reached a deal with MSV, which provides the circuit stability for the future.
“I am particularly pleased to have finally done a deal with MSV’s Jonathan Palmer in what is our 40th year since my father reopened the circuit in 1977,” he said. “Since taking the circuit back under my own control in 2009, huge efforts have been made to bring Donington back to the forefront of British Motorsport, not to mention the many millions it’s taken to do so. It seems very fitting in this celebratory year to hand over Donington’s reigns to Jonathan Palmer and his expert team, a man whose business model my late father and I have admired for many years. I now look forward to watching Donington continue to grow and prosper with fresh investment.”