Famous Donington Grand Prix museum to close its doors in November

Motors | Published:

Leicestershire-based museum set to shut up shop due to ‘family responsibilities’

One of the world’s most extensive collections of publicly viewable Formula One cars will be closed permanently on November 5.

The collection includes an extensive range of cars from British-based F1 teams such as Williams, Vanwall, Lotus, McLaren and Force India among dozens from the sport’s past, plus an array of military vehicles.

Initially founded by Tom Wheatcroft, the collection is housed at the Donington Park racing circuit. Wheatcroft helped re-open Donington in 1977, having had his first taste of motorsport at the venue before the Second World War.

The museum was built and opened ahead of the track’s revival, in 1973, as the Leicestershire-based enthusiast had been steadily purchasing classic racing cars for some time, and was running out of garage space.

Wheatcroft passed away in 2009, in the midst of a trying time for Donington Park following a botched attempt to host the British Grand Prix. His son Kevin Wheatcroft took over the reins, ensuring the survival of both the circuit and the museum.

In the midst of salvaging Donington’s facilities, several of the key cars in the collection were sold off, replaced by newer models from various racing teams. Many of the cars in the museum today are present on a lease basis, and will be returned to their owners.

Kevin Wheatcroft said of the closure: “Closing the museum after 45 years has been a really difficult decision, but family responsibilities simply make it the right thing to do.”

The museum will continue to open as normal until November 5.

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