DONINGTON PARK’S FU­TURE SE­CURED

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Jonathan Palmer says his Mo­tor­sport Vi­sion group’s takeover of the op­er­a­tion of Donington Park will as­sure a long-term fu­ture for the venue, but he has ruled out a deal for Sil­ver­stone.

Palmer’s deal to take on a 21-year lease of the East Mid­lands cir­cuit was an­nounced two weeks ago. The track will join Brands Hatch, Cad­well Park, Oul­ton Park and Snet­ter­ton in the MSV port­fo­lio.

“It is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult for solo cir­cuits to op­er­ate well with the fund­ing re­straints that come with op­er­at­ing alone,” said Palmer. “By ty­ing up this deal, we will help to build a strong fu­ture for Donington Park. We have the in­fra­struc­ture within the other parts of our busi­ness that can only be of ben­e­fit to Donington Park and its op­er­a­tion.”

Palmer said that the lease also has a fur­ther op­tion, mean­ing his group could be in charge of the venue for up to 40 years.

“We want to keep the heart and soul of the cir­cuit as it al­ways has been – it is one of the most chal­leng­ing tracks in the UK and it has un­par­al­leled his­tory.”

Palmer said that the race sched­ule for 2017 was al­ready set and would go ahead as planned, but he would look at other events he could add to the cal­en­dar.

“This deal was not done on the ba­sis of hav­ing a ma­jor event on the hori­zon. It was not re­liant on that. Hav­ing said that, one of the big­gest things will be to see what is go­ing on with the Cir­cuit of Wales and the Mo­togp con­tract. Be­yond that, there are things we can add to the cir­cuit.

“We run a very suc­cess­ful Amer­i­can Speed­fest at Brands Hatch and other events like that, and we could look to ex­pand those to an­other venue like Donington too.”

While Palmer said he was happy with the lay­out of the cir­cuit and had no plans to al­ter it, he ad­mit­ted that some work needed to be done to the track.

“We need to look at some of the safety as­pects of the track, and some size­able ar­eas are in need of resur­fac­ing,” he said. “Those are the sorts of things we will be able to look at straight away. Also, the pad­dock area needs some work to bring it up to a good stan­dard.”

Palmer also said that he was no longer in­ter­ested in a deal to take over the run­ning of Sil­ver­stone cir­cuit.

“We ex­pressed an in­ter­est ini­tially, but we are now go­ing to fo­cus our op­er­a­tions on our ex­ist­ing busi­nesses,” added Palmer.

“This deal with Donington was not a deal in­stead of Sil­ver­stone, it was com­pletely sep­a­rate. But we have no plans to try and op­er­ate Sil­ver­stone any more.”

Palmer: No Sil­ver­stone bid

New events are planned

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