Jonathan Palmer’s Motorsport Vision company has agreed to lease Donington Park from owner Kevin Wheatcroft for 21 years.
MSV, a private firm owned by the former F1 driver and Sir Peter Ogden, already owns and operates four UK race circuits - Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Cadwell Park - while Donington is one of the country’s best-known tracks and hosts the WorldSBK round.
“I am thrilled that MSV has now acquired the Donington circuit business. 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,” said Palmer.
“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.”
The transaction, which will more than likely have to go before the Competition Commission, means MSV will own five circuits as well as the rights to the MCE British Superbike Championship.