Owners of the Donington Park racing circuit have revealed plans to turn neighbouring Donington Hall into an exclusive 40-bedroom hotel for racing drivers using the track.
Jonathan Palmer, ex-F1 driver and co-owner of MotorSport Vision (MSV) said bike and car racers, and classic car owners will be able to fly into East Midlands Airport in Castle Donington before being driven the short distance to the hotel.
The next morning their cars and bikes, which will be stored and maintained on-site, will be delivered to the front door of the hotel, ready to be driven straight onto the track.
MSV, which also runs Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton, Cadwell Park and Bedford Autodrome, has bought the whole 28-acre Donington Hall estate.
Along with the hotel, MSV is creating a ‘stabling compound’ to keep supercars, vintage cars and racing cars and bikes, as well as mechanics workshops to look after them.
The North West Leicestershire estate was home to Norton bikes before the bike builder went bust last year – and the Grade II listed hall was home to Norton’s previous owner Stuart Garner and his family.
The bike company is now owned by India’s TVS Motor Company and production has moved to Solihull, in the West Midlands.
MSV said the main four-storey Donington Hall will be turned into a hotel that reflects the historic association with the motor racing circuit, and which it hopes will be open in time for the 2023 season.
The estate also includes Hastings House – a 1990 office block built as the HQ for the BMI airline before Norton turned it into its factory – which will become the Donington Hall Motorhouse.
MSV says it will be the “UK’s most prestigious stabling facility for supercars, classic road and racing cars and motorcycles”, and should be ready for its first clients this autumn.
Buildings at the back of Hastings House, called the Lansdowne workshops, will be let to “high-end motor engineering businesses” that will maintain and prepare vehicles kept at the motorhouse and used on the race circuit.
Last year marketing material from property consultants Sanderson Weatherall valued Donington Hall, Hastings House & The Lansdowne Buildings at £8,575,000.
MSV chief executive Jonathan Palmer said: “Ever since we added Donington Park to our portfolio of motorsport circuits I have admired Donington Hall, and have always been keen to acquire the property.
“It’s a stunningly beautiful building and deserves to be sympathetically restored to its former glory.
“Donington Park circuit was originally built in the estate grounds of Donington Hall in 1931, making it the oldest motor racing circuit in the country.
“The opportunity to reunite the circuit with the Hall was not to be missed and the substantial marriage value is very exciting.
“Donington Hall Motorhouse will be an outstanding place to securely store some of the best cars and motorcycles in the world, with VVIP facilities for owners.
“We will be creating an extraordinary and unique facility.
“Specialist car owners will be able to fly directly into East Midlands airport, view their cars within 10 minutes of landing before settling into, for example, the Rosemeyer Suite at the hotel.
“Their chosen car will be prepared and warmed up, waiting outside the front of the Hall after breakfast, from where they can drive it up the original carriage drive and directly on to the Donington Park circuit.
“After a day’s circuit driving, our team will return the car to the workshops for cleaning and a check over before returning it to storage, while our visitors are on their way home.”
Racers will be able to use a private, mile-long, landscaped drive to the circuit as well as a direct route to the paddock.
There will also be access from the hall to the circuit across the original Starkey’s bridge, allowing drivers to drive directly back to the for awards presentations and other special events.
MSV was founded by Jonathan Palmer and Sir Peter Ogden in 2004, and operates five motor racing venues. Donington Park joined the group in 2017.
Its Bedford Autodrome driving facility is home to PalmerSport, which offers motorsports activities.
MSV has the rights to the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, which is run from its Brands Hatch and Donington Park offices.
The group also manages the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, and is involved in running other racing championships and series through its event organising arm MotorSport Vision Racing.
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