The landscape of who owns what in British racing changed dramatically this morning.
An announcement has been made that Donington Park racetrack has been sold by the long-time owners the Wheatcroft family to a consortium of investors.
The newly-formed Donington Ventures Leisure Limited has bought the entire 80-hectare site of the track, and a further surrounding 220 hectares of land,.
It is a 150-year lease, which has also seen them buy out the rights to stage events at the venue from the incumbent Live Nation.
It is the first time for years the venue and the rights to run events there have been in the same hands – and the good news for bike racing fans is that the man heading the deal used to race bikes, and is a passionate fan.
Simon Gillett, who heads the buying consortium in partnership with others and backed by Allied Irish Bank, says he wants Donington to become admired worldwide for the way it looks after fans
He explained: “We are naturally delighted and very proud to have acquired Donington Park.
“The circuit is steeped in motor racing heritage and has an incredibly fond place in the heart of every motor racing enthusiast whether on two or four wheels.
“We are absolutely committed to realising the full potential of the Park by making the necessary investments in current and future events that will see Donington revitalised ensuring its leading position as one of the most iconic racing circuits in the world.
“To that end and for 2007, we have created the best racing calendar for years, with two of the highlights being, the return of World Superbikes on its 20th anniversary and the holding of the World Motocross Grand Prix ”
The Wheatcroft family will still be closely involved with the ongoing plans to revitalise the venue, with Tom Wheatcroft already part of the new DVLL firm as President.
His son Kevin will also be involved with the management of the legendary Donington Grand Prix Collection of historic race cars. That remains in Wheatcroft hands.
Read MCN on Wednesday, February 7, 2007 for a fuller interview with DVLL CEO Simon Gillett.