Wheatcrofts aim to reopen Donington Park

The owners of Donington Park have said that they will do everything in their power to ensure that the Leicestershire circuit will reopen for racing.

The future of the track had been uncertain when its lease holders Donington Park Ventures went into administration, last November. With no buyer found for the lease, the responsibility for the operation of the circuit returned to the circuit’s owners: the Wheatcroft family.

Kevin Wheatcroft, son of former circuit boss Tom Wheatcroft who died last year after a long illness, has said that his family will now do all it can to bring the circuit back into operational use – after the failed work to bring the venue up to Grand Prix standard had left the circuit unfit for purpose.

“I can reassure people we are doing everything we can to get things back to normal at Donington Park,” Wheatcroft told the Derby Telegraph.

“It has been a very difficult time for the whole family, especially with the death of my father being played out against the problems at the circuit.

“We were given back the keys to the circuit back and immediately started to work out what happens next. The first thing has been to try to save as many jobs as possible. As of this week, we have reopened the museum and cafe and race control office.

“We have been assessing what is required to put things back as they were. We reckon this will cost in the region of about £600,000, but to get it up to grand prix standard you could add a couple of zeroes.

“We want to get the place operational again. Hopefully we can get up and running again as soon as possible.”

The Wheatcroft also said that his family will look to lease out the circuit once again, having already made contact with several interested parties.

“First we need to sell the lease to someone who can run the circuit on a full-time basis,” he continued.

“It’s too big a job for us and we want to identify someone who can take it forward. There are no shortage of people interested and we have found 12 potential buyers for the lease in just 12 days.”

Having lost both the British Formula One Grand Prix and the British Motorcycling Grand Prix to Silverstone, Donington was forced to drop off the British Superbike calendar after it could not provide significant guarantees to  series organisers. Despite this, the circuit still plans to host rounds of the British Touring Car Championship and the World Superbike Championship in 2010.

Although angered by the state-of-affairs which Donington Park Ventures had left the circuit in, Kevin Wheatcroft also added that he owed it to his late father to oversee the circuits rehabilitation.

“My father lived for his work and motorsport,” he said. “He put his heart and soul into Donington Park and he was very upset by what happened to it and the mess it was left in.

“I am particularly upset because the Donington problems took up time that should have been spent with my father as he was dying.

“Whatever happens in the future, I will make sure this name will always be synonymous with the park.”