Motorsport: Brands Hatch buys Donington lease

Jay Rayner, Author and Food Critic

THE owners of Brands Hatch have bought the rights to host races at another iconic British race track, Donington Park.

MotorSport Vision [MSV], based at the West Kingsdown venue, has acquired the business for the -Leicestershire circuit on a 21-year lease, subject to regulatory approval.

Donington Park currently hosts the British leg of the World Superbike Championship and previously held motorcycling’s MotoGP for 23 years.

It also staged a single round of the Formula One World Championship in 1993 under the title European Grand Prix – won by Ayrton Senna.

The Kent company, which is owned by former F1 driver Jonathan Palmer and Sir Peter Ogden, also owns Oulton Park, Snetterton and Cadwell Park.

MSV will take over from Donington’s owner Kevin Wheatcroft, who saved the track from bankruptcy in 2009. It has been holding motorsport -competitions since 1931.

Mr Palmer, MSV’s Chief Executive, said: “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 was reopened by Tom Wheatcroft 40 years ago after falling into decline. His son Kevin commented: “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.”

In 2015 MSV expanded its operations on to the European mainland when it bought a former military airbase in north-eastern France.

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