It is not only on-track that Donington Park has had a bit of a make-over and touch-up as, with motorsport fans celebrating the circuit's return to the majority of 2011 season calendars, the owners have unveiled a branding change to reflect what they believe is the start of a new era.
An updated logo retains an element of the historic blue oval that is so recognisable as the symbol of Donington Park over the years, but also represents the exciting times that the management believes lie ahead for the revamped circuit, which fell into disrepair following an abortive attempt to wrest the British Grand Prix away from Silverstone.
Simon Gillett's Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd secured a 17-year deal to take the flagship event to the East Midlands venue from 2010, but plans lurched from one disaster to another before DVLL entered administration in November 2009. While the British GP moved back to Silverstone - which itself showed how efficiently circuit and infrastructure changes could be made - the famous Donington circuit, which had staged the 1993 European GP, was left in a state of ruin and unable to host any of the championships which had regularly graced its tarmac.
Although the likes of the BARC and Jonathan Palmer's MotorSport Vision group were linked to potential takeovers, erstwhile Donington owners the Wheatcroft family reclaimed the lease when administrators failed to find a buyer for the 150-year agreement previously in place with Donington Ventures Leisure Limited. The family, which lost patriarch Tom at the height of the DVLL debacle, subsequently revealed that the Midlands-based Adroit Group had taken on a 25-year lease and the organisation immediately set about a implementing a £2m redevelopment of both the circuit and facilities - including reshaping the Esses and lengthening the main straight at Goddards corner - that eventually led to Donington being given the green light to resume racing activities in late 2010.
As a result of the work, this year will see the return not only of Britain's top series, such as the BTCC and British Superbikes, but also some of the world's most prestigious championships, such as World Superbikes and the WTCC. The first major date for the circuit is the return of the WSBK, which takes place between 25-27 March and marks the beginning of the 80th anniversary of motorcycle racing at Donington Park.
“From start to finish, the 2011 events calendar will provide non-stop action and this is just the start of an exciting new era for the circuit," Kevin Wheatcroft, chairman of Donington Park Racing Ltd, commented, “With the new logo, we wanted pay homage to the heritage of the venue, but also create something different and innovative, showing the recent progress and representing what we plan for the future.
"While there is still work to do, we can't wait to open the doors to the race fans again and show them that Donington Park is back.”