Donington Park lease sold

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A new company has taken a 150-year lease on Donington Park and vows to focus on the Collection and to support historic racing

The new owner of Donington Park has pledged to keep historic racing as a key part of the venue’s future programme and encourage more visitors to the Donington Grand Prix Collection.

The sale of a 150-year lease on the complete venue was recently completed and a new holding company, called Donington Ventures Leisure Limited, has been formed by Simon Gillett and Lee Gill. As well as the existing 300-acre site, the new owner has also acquired a further 400 acres of land, which is situated largely behind the Old Hairpin and McLeans corner.

Circuit founder Tom Wheatcroft has joined the new company in the role of president, while his son Kevin will act as special advisor. His particular focus is on developing and promoting the Grand Prix Collection, which the new owner will run, though the actual cars will remain in the ownership of

Tom Wheatcroft. The change of ownership of the lease on Donington ends a frequently strained relationship between Wheatcroft and former leaseholder Live Nation (formerly the Clear Channel Group).

Gillett, a confessed motorsport enthusiast, has pledged to invest further in the venue and plans to pay particular attention to spectator facilities. The 2007 racing programme will continue as planned, with three major historic events on the schedule. “Historic racing is absolutely central to the future of Donington Park,” says Gillett. “It is very strong in the UK and we’ll play our part in supporting it. We’ve already got a great historic calendar for 2007.”

Gillett, whose grandfather Tom was a mechanic for Billy Cotton’s ERA at the 1938 Donington Grand Prix, also plans to greatly increase the number of visitors to the Donington GP Collection.

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