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Featured MSV Secure Lease of Donington Park

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by Paul Jeffrey, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
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    Donington Park.jpg
    Donington Park future secured following a deal struck with MotorSport Vision to gain control over the circuit development for the next 21 years.

    MotorSport Vision Limited (MSV) have today confirmed a deal to bring the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit under their control for the next 21 years, adding the scenic Leicestershire circuit to a portfolio that already includes iconic British venues such as Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Cadwell Park.

    Donington Park has been in a state of turmoil for several years now as the circuit fights to regain some of its former prestige following the disastrous failed bid to wrestle away the rights to host Britain’s round of the Formula One World Championship from the 2010 season onwards. When Donington, then under the control of Donington Ventures Limited, secured a deal to replace Silverstone on the F1 calendar the circuit embarked upon an ill-advised programme of modifications to the track, resulting in considerable earth moving taking place both around and through the current layout to develop the groundwork for an extension to the circuit, bringing it up to a suitable length in order to run a Grand Prix. As the redevelopment continued racing activity at the circuit came to an end, resulting in several high profile series whom Donington was a regular fixture on the schedule having to look for an alternative location, some of which were never to return.

    Sadly for reasons not entirely evident at the time, Donington Ventures Limited failed to deliver the planned works and funding for the project before eventually disappearing for the scene all together, leaving Donington with no Grand Prix, a destroyed circuit and severe damage to many of the spectator areas around the circuit. Understandably at this stage things looked rather bleak for the popular venue, with the prospect of racing returning to the track some way in the distance, and several businesses and investors waiting in the wings keen to snap up a prime piece of real estate situated next to East Midlands airport in order to redevelop the venue as something other than the racing circuit, for which it has been since the early 1930's.

    Step in Kevin Wheatcroft, son of the late Tom Wheatcroft and architect of the circuits' first revival back in the mid 1970’s. Wheatcroft Junior and his team at Donington invested millions of pounds and many months of hard work to repair much of the damage done by the failed British Grand Prix bid, returning the circuit to operational level and once again opening up the track to regular racing activity. In the years that have followed Donington has continued to revive itself in steady if unspectacular fashion, with work having been finally completed towards the end of last year on the vast infield banking section as well as other more discrete developments to the general infrastructure of the venue.

    The calendar of activity at the track has once again filled up in recent years, although many of the ‘prestige’ events of yesteryear such as MotoGP, DTM and the World Touring Car Championship have yet to return to the track. Regardless of the issues overcome in recent times, it has become apparent that in the 40th year since Tom Wheatcroft saved the almost derelict track back in 1977 further investment would be required to springboard the facility up to the next level in British national, and international motorsport.

    With this in mind Wheatcroft and his board of directors have confirmed former Grand Prix driver and MSV chairman and CEO Jonathan Palmer has secured a deal to lease the circuit for the next 21 years, bringing with it the expertise of 12 years of circuit development and the financial backing to move Donington Park to the next level since its revival.

    Palmer had the following to say of todays announcement:

    "I am thrilled that MSV has now acquired the Donington circuit business," he said. "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.

    "Like many circuits in the UK, Donington has had a turbulent time over the last 10 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 added: "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.

    "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."
    With Donington firmly back on track following the British Grand Prix episode it is heartening news to hear of the deal between the Wheatcroft family and MSV. The circuit itself and the viewing opportunities it affords has never been in question, however even the most die hard of fans would struggle to defend the rather lacklustre facilities on offer both track side and throughout the main and supporting paddocks. It will be interesting to see where MSV concentrate their considerable resources in the next few months, as the main pits buildings and media centre have all recently been subject to a major overhaul and rebuilding programme of works.

    Regardless of the intended development by MSV, this is indeed a welcome shot in the arm to one of the finest racetracks in the United Kingdom.


    If you want to find out more news from the world of motorsport look no further, RaceDepartment has you covered! Check out our dedicated forums for Formula One, Formula E, IndyCar and the World Endurance Championship as well as our general Motorsports forum. We love cars and believe you do too, so lets get together and share that passion here in our fantastic community!

    Are you happy to hear of the MSV / Donington Park tie up? Do you like the circuit? What is your best Donington memory? Let us know in the comments section below!
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
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  2. TheReaper GT

    TheReaper GT
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    Those are great news for both motorsports and Sim racing. MSV is known to be easily approachable in regards to their licenses... Good stuff
     
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  3. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
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    Awesome point! Didn't even think about that...:cool::thumbsup:
     
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  4. thewarmer

    thewarmer

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    I am very happy to read this news . been from the Midlands , in Staffordshire I was only 50 mins away from this Track.
    I have visited the track both for racing events & the old Monsters of Rock festival .

    I thought the deal to get F1 to Donington was ill advised & other than one of Bernie's little games to get Silverstone to play to his rules , it was a crazy idea.

    Most people know its nightmare to get in & out of Donington will little way of changing or even building a new road in or out due the the old Village near by , & as far as I remember all the land surrounding the track is green belt so can not be built on.

    It was a scandal that the track was almost wrecked & even worse was left in state of ruin.
    I have since move oversea's but 8 years ago , but I have kept a track on the track's rescue & recovery .
    I wish both MSV & Donington the best of luck , it would have been a very big lose if the Track had been developed into some thing other than what it is. Donington has a very important place in world Motorsports history & there have been some class race's at the venue both of 4 wheels & two , I hope 2017 is the start of some thing good for the track.
     
  5. James Cook

    James Cook
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    Excellent news. Such a great, historic circuit deserves a stable future.
     
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  6. Tom Blackett

    Tom Blackett

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    Great news! With MSC in control Donington are in safe hands.
     
  7. rubaru

    rubaru

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    Would love to see what sort of ideas they have for an extension to the circuit. I actually liked Tilke's design from 2010, and the infield would be the most logical place to do this. It could almost take on an Spielberg or Sao Paulo feel to it if they tried hard enough.
     
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  8. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
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    Nooooo please oh dear lord don't change the track! New toilets are fine, but please don't touch the tarmac (Dunlop Bridge coming back wouldn't be a bad thing either :) ).

    I love Donington, its the best place in the whole world. Even when it rains (which is like, always).
     
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  9. antirussia81

    antirussia81

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    Couldn't agree more. Donington is one of two places in UK that I would like to transfer to Poland (the other is Islay with all those distilleries)...
     
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  10. Brun

    Brun

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    Who needs licences? :cool:
     
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  11. fortyfivekev

    fortyfivekev
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    Seems like a good time to start a bring back Starkey's Bar campaign. :)

    MSV seem fairly sensible with their investments. For spectators, some new toilets and another grandstand or two would be great. They don't seem like they will rip up the circuit just to try and get big events which I think is a good thing.

    I wonder if this means they have given up trying to buy Silverstone?
     
  12. monsieurjackb

    monsieurjackb
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    Awesome news, it was all so promising in 2008-9 thinking we'd get the F1 and then it just fell apart. Going to the Moto GP in 2007 remains one of my favourite days ever, gives me chills just thinking about it. My local track and the place that led me to love motorsport :inlove:
     
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  13. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
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    Redgate pub too!!
     
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  14. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper
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    Nice to read a bit of positive motorsport news for a change :)

    I used to visit Donington quite a bit when I lived in the UK (even though it was a 110 mile drive).

    The last time I visited they'd been digging the place up for the Grand Prix proposal and it was a complete mess. More like Glastonbury than Donington...:roflmao:

    I haven't really visited the circuit for over 10 years. I only really tend to visit major series like WEC so I haven't seen anything on their calendar to entice me. However I did look at the touring cars but every trip from Guernsey (flights, hotel, hire car if needed) comes to nearly £600 so it's a big ask on my wages :rolleyes: So I have to be a bit selective about what I go to see and in recent years that tends to be Silverstone more than any of the others.

    Would be good to get DTM or maybe Blancpain GT3 maybe back there? 60-70 odd GT3 cars around Donington would be a great sight.

    Good luck to Donington and glad you have a stable future, and yes don't forget to rebuild the pubs! ;)
     
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  15. TheReaper GT

    TheReaper GT
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    I think that's very possible since there is a British GT round there....
     
  16. Andrew Harper

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    Yeah that was a series a used to follow as well (in the GT1 days, that McLaren made a lovely noise my friend) saw them at Brands and Rockingham also when I lived in the UK. Lost touch with the series over the last few years though when the grids started to dwindle slightly. Good to see it back in reasonable health again.

    I was just trying to think of international series (of the four wheel variety) that would be great to see back at Donington, even if it alternated with somewhere like Silverstone :thumbsup:
     
  17. TheReaper GT

    TheReaper GT
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    I think I've failed to convey my point... What I meant is that both British GT and Blancpain are SRO championships... And given the good relationship between SRO and MSV, it's not hard to bring an international GT event to Donington... I bet the guys from GT Open have an eye on it already..

    I miss GT3 too, though :D
     
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  18. Slyfrequency

    Slyfrequency
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    Fantastic News, I'm so happy, always been my local track, can't wait for the future of the track :)
     
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  19. thewarmer

    thewarmer

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    No way they should change the track layout. the current track is one of the best driving tracks you can find anywhere.
    its needs bring up to modern standards for the venue & building & run-off's.

    So many classic tracks have been destroyed or sterilized to fit into what is classed has modern venue.
    If they have to add to the track then it should be at least done in away the keeps the older layouts has part of anything new.

    I am happy has long has they are realistic about what sort of events can be held at Donington . within its limitations for access.
    The should go for GT series their along with the WEC , it was nice when they had Group C back in the days at this venue.

    It would be nice to see Moto GP back their , for me bike racing always meant Donington raceway.

    Maybe add a rally-cross track infield that could work for them
    Saying that anything is better than what followed the failed F1 bid.
     
  20. Slyfrequency

    Slyfrequency
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    They already have an infield that they use for rallies that are hosted there. But everything else you said I 100% agree with!