In a plot twist straight out of the Downton Abbey archives, MotorSport Vision is planning to restore the historic Donington Hall into a character hotel after buying the Grade II-listed property.
MSV took over Donington Park in 2017, adding the Leicestershire venue to its current circuit portfolio of Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Cadwell Park, Snetterton, Bedford Autodrome and the forthcoming Laon-Couvron facility in northern France. This month the group announced it would buy the entire 28-acre estate adjacent to the Donington track, which includes both the Hall and the Hastings House building, formerly the home of the British Midland International airline prior to its takeover by IAG – British Airways’ owner – in 2012.
The hall will be converted into a 40-bedroom luxury hotel, while Hastings House will be transformed into a 45,000 sq ft car storage and preparation facility.
MSV also plans to renovate the existing Lansdowne workshops and make them available to rent for local businesses.
To link the lot, plans have been submitted to create a private mile-long driveway between the hall and the original gatehouse at the circuit, allowing guests to drive their cars to and from the circuit.
MSV chief executive Jonathan Palmer said: “Ever since we took over Donington Park I have admired Donington Hall and have always been keen to acquire it. It’s a beautiful building and deserves to be sympathetically restored to its former glory. Donington Park circuit was originally built in the estate grounds of the hall in 1931, making it the oldest motor racing road circuit in the country. The opportunity to reunite the track with the hall was not to be missed.
“We will be creating a unique facility. Specialist car owners will be able to fly direct into East Midlands Airport and then settle into, for example, the Rosemeyer Suite at the hotel. Their chosen cars can then be waiting, warmed up, outside the hall and can be driven up the original carriage drive and onto the circuit.”