Jonathan Palmer’s MSV acquires Donington Park circuit
Jonathan Palmer leads at Donington Park in Formula Two
Owner of Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton, Cadwell Park and the Bedford Autodrome adds Leicestershire venue to its roster in a 21-year deal
UK motor racing circuit owner MotorSport Vision (MSV) has taken over Donington Park circuit.
MSV, which already owns and operates Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton, Cadwell Park and the Bedford Autodrome, has struck a deal with Kevin Wheatcroft, owner and operator of Donington Park, to take over the circuit business and to lease the Donington Park Estate for an initial 21-year term.
The organisation, owned jointly by Palmer and Sir Peter Ogden, is also in the process of expanding into Europe. In 2015 it made the freehold purchase of a former military airbase in north-east France, which it is currently developing into a large motorsport village named Laon Autodrome.
A venue for racing prior to World War Two, Donington Park was requisitioned as a military vehicle depot in the war and then fell into disrepair until it was purchased and revived by local construction entrepreneur Tom Wheatcroft in 1971.
Kevin Wheatcroft, son of Tom, regained control of the circuit in the wake of the collapse of leaseholder Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd, following a failed attempt to secure the funding required to host the British Grand Prix.
The East Midlands track currently hosts rounds of British Superbikes, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship and the Superbike World Championship.
MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer said: “I am thrilled that MSV has now acquired the Donington Park 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.
“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, Donington Park’s owner, said: “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. 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.
“I now look forward to watching Donington continue to grow and prosper with fresh investment.”
The deal is still subject to regulatory approval.