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JANUARY 8, 2009

D-Day for Donington Park

The North West Leicestershire District Council will today rule on planning proposals for the upgrading of the Donington Park racing circuit in order to bring it up to the standard required for Formula 1. The circuit intends to host the British Grand Prix in 2010 and Simon Gillett, the chief executive of Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd, says he is expecting to get the go-ahead to build and reckons that the work will be completed in around 10 months. There have been questions over the funding of the development work with money being hard to find at the moment but it seems that Gillett has strong support from the property investment and development firm Revelan Estates, which is based in the Isle of Man and headquartered in Birmingham. This is controlled by Monaco-based businessman Paul White. This has significant holdings in the Midlands and is also actively involved in the steel business, owning Servosteel, Britain's largest steel roll company in Stourbridge. Revelan is believed to be supplying much of the funding needed for the project.

The intention is to transform the racing circuit into an entertainment destination with motor racing providing the main theme, but the new facilities being built for F1 also being used year-round for events, shows, promotions, concerts and conventions. As part of the development plan the current Donington Park Exhibition Centre, which has 4400 sq.m of display area, will be demolished and a new facility will be developed, probably incorporated into new grandstands.

Such businesses can do very well as has been seen in America where the International Speedway Corporation and Speedway Motorsports Inc are both thriving businesses, with shares available to the public. In Britain, Jonathan Palmer's MotorSport Vision has been doing very well with Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton, Cadwell Park and the Bedford Autodrome.