Race Circuit Resurgence
The military left the Donington estate in the 1950s and family took over the Hall once again allowing displaced adults and children to live there until 1966 when it reverted back to a family residence. In 1971, motor racing enthusiast Tom Wheatcroft purchased the grounds leading to a return of motor racing in 1977. Due to rising costs the family sold the Hall to British Midland Airways in 1980 to use as their headquarters. It later became the home of Norton Motorcycles in 2013 and then in 2020 it was acquired by MotorSport Vision.
This culminated in the ultimate accolade of being chosen to host the European Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1993. The race was won by Ayrton Senna, whose drove a legendary first lap in his McLaren going from 5th to 1st place in pouring rain. This became known as the 'lap of the gods'.
The Grand Prix circuit will be used for the upcoming British Touring Car Championship for the first time in 21 years in August 2023.
Documents courtesy of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland.