Donington Park owner Simon Gillett has admitted that proving doubters wrong about his ability to bring the circuit up to Formula One standard in little over a year is acting as perhaps the biggest spur of all.
Gillett, CEO of Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd, received a major boost to his plans to construct a worthy replacement to Silverstone as home of the British Grand Prix when North West Leicestershire District Council granted planning permission for a £100m revamp of the venue, which has been handed the chance to run the UK round of the world championship from 2010.
The proposal approved late on Thursday [8 January] involves the addition of a new loop of circuit heading from the Goddards hairpin down into the existing infield, plus the construction of a new pit and paddock, grandstands and infrastructure facilities including hospitality and media buildings.
Gillett has also revealed that he plans to make the event the first to be served largely by public transport, following doubts about the circuit's ability to cope with levels of grand prix traffic, and the council's approval has been granted provided a strategic event management plan is supplied.
"This puts us on the world stage with places like Bahrain," Gillett enthused to the BBC
, before admitting that he is looking forward to proving the project's many naysayers wrong after they raised doubts about the venue's ability to be ready for its return to the F1 calendar next year.
"They'll see when buildings come out of the ground and cars turn up on the grid," he smiled, "If they still want to sit at home not believing me, that's their prerogative. To be honest, I love the scepticism. It's what motivates me. The more the experts tell me it won't happen, the more I seem to achieve. I feed off it. It doesn't concern me at all. I have my goals and I know they're realistic."
The next major hurdle for Donington to cross is sourcing the finance to bring Gillett's dream to life, although work is expected to start almost immediately on a new pit and paddock area alongside Starkey's Straight, running from Coppice towards the Melbourne hairpin. In all, the circuit has roughly 17 months to raise both money and facilities in order to be ready for the British Grand Prix next summer.