Former F1 driver buys Donington Hall estate and reveals grand plans

Donington Hall

MotorSport Vision (MSV) has bought the Donington Hall Estate comprising Donington Hall itself, former office building Hastings House and the Lansdowne workshops building.

The firm, owned by former F1 driver Jonathan Palmer, wants to turn Donington Hall into a 40-room luxury hotel.

The estate is set in 28 acres of grounds next to the MSV operated Donington Park race circuit in the East Midlands.

Donington Hall is an 18th century mansion house, with historical ties to the adjacent racing circuit which is within part of the estate’s original grounds. The main Hall building comprises four floors and together with its mews buildings and coach house covers 61,000 sq ft. MSV plans to develop the Grade II* listed structure into a 40-bedroom hotel, reflecting the historic association with the motor racing circuit. The hotel is planned to open for the 2023 season.

Hastings House was built in 1990 as the main administrative headquarters for the British Midland International airline, which owned the Donington Hall Estate before BMI was purchased by British Airways. MSV is to transform the 45,000 sq ft building into the Donington Hall Motorhouse, which aims to be the UK’s most prestigious stabling facility for supercars, classic road and racing cars and motorcycles.

The Lansdowne workshops, at 18,000 sq ft, will be available to let for high-end motor engineering businesses which support the preparation and maintenance of vehicles kept at the Donington Hall Motorhouse and used on the race circuit.

The Donington Hall Hotel and Motorhouse will benefit from a private, mile-long landscaped drive from the original gatehouse by the circuit. There will also be a direct route to the circuit paddock areas, in addition to direct access from the Hall to the circuit by the original Starkey’s bridge. This will allow race cars to be driven directly to Donington Hall for awards presentations at special events.

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.”

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