SAD news today…
It has been announced that Donington owner, Tom Wheatcroft, passed away on yesterday morning after suffering a long illness. The man after whom the current start/finish straight is named after purchased the venue in the 1970s and was 87 years old at the time of his death.
With Donington having lost out this week on its chance to host the British Grand Prix next year, site owner Wheatcroft was no longer held an active management role at the Leicestershire track, which is run by Simon Gillett’s Donington Ventures Leisure Limited (DVLL).
A support of motorsport for his entire life, Wheatcroft visited pre-war Donington to follow the progress of some of the earliest Grand Prix cars before the official F1 World Championship in 1950. In 1971, the Englishman purchased the venue following success in the construction industry.
Donington has long been recognised as a circuit on which every corner represents a passing opportunity and has hosted many classic races during the reign of Wheatcroft, not least the stunning drivers of Nigel Mansell in Round 12 of the 1998 British Touring Car Championship and Ayrton Senna’s climb to victory in a wet European Grand Prix of 1993, the circuit’s sole Formula One race.
I will remember Wheatcroft dressed in an amazing suit and top hat at the 1993 race, presenting the winner’s trophy to Senna. Our condolences to his family and friends.
[Image from IC Network]