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New owners for Donington Park Circuit

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New owners for Donington Park

Race track Donington Park will have new owners in 2017 after Brands Hatch owners MotorSport Vision (MSV) announced that it has reached an agreement to purchase the Leicestershire circuit.

MSV, which is owned by former Formula One racing driver Jonathan Palmer and IT entrepreneur Sir Peter Ogden, has agreed to take over the race circuit business and to lease the Donington Park Estate for an initial 21 year term. The former home of the British Grand Prix will expand MSV’s portfolio of British circuits to five, joining Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Cadwell Park. The company also owns the Bedford Autodrome facility and holds the promotional rights to the British Superbike Championship.

MSV Chief Executive Palmer said: "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. 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, Donington Park's present owner, 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 reins 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."

The parties will be working with the relevant authorities to obtain regulatory approval for the transaction.


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