DONINGTON PARK’S FUTURE SECURED
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