Tom Wheatcroft, founder of the world-famous Donington Grand Prix Collection, has been chosen to receive the first ever Meguiar's Award for the 'UK Car Enthusiast of the Year'. The award will be presented at The Royal Automobile Club in London on 18 September.

The Meguiar's Award honours an individual who has made a significant contribution to the growth, visibility and quality of the car enthusiast movement, in all its varied forms. Wheatcroft was chosen as the winner of the first ever UK award by an independent panel of ten highly respected automotive journalists, who met for a day to review the nominations and select a recipient. Meguiar's has no involvement in the decision process, which is left entirely to the journalists each year.

There were 17 nominees, each of whom has made a significant contribution in their own unique way to the world of cars, car collecting and all things automotive. After due deliberation, Wheatcroft emerged as the winner by unanimous vote.

"The quality of the nominees was first class, and it must have been a very tough decision for the judges," managing director Steve King commented, "Tom Wheatcroft is a very worthy winner. He's an amazing character - and incredibly passionate about historic cars. He has also done some great work for charity, in particular raising large sums of money for the NSPCC. His energy, enthusiasm and determination are an inspiration to us all."

Now aged 82, Wheatcroft was present at the Donington Grand Prix of 1937 and 1938 as a teenage enthusiast and, more than 30 years later, in 1970, was able to buy the derelict venue. With amazing skill and enterprise, he upgraded and re-routed the circuit until it opened for racing again in 1977. In 1993, Donington Park staged its first grand prix in 55 years, and the circuit went on to win the trophy for the best-organised world championship event of the year.

Wheatcroft opened the Donington Grand Prix Collection at the circuit in 1973 and, today, with five halls housing over 130 exhibits, it is the largest museum of its kind in the world. Its owner has brought many unique historic cars back to life, and Donington vehicles regularly feature at major historic events. Donington Park Circuit is also the venue for classic and modern race meetings throughout the year and is a very popular venue for car club and marque meetings, kit car shows and auto jumbles.

"Tom Wheatcroft is a remarkable guy by any standards and a worthy winner of the first ever UK Meguiar's Award," Meguiar's Inc president and CEO, Barry Meguiar, said, "Along with Steve King, who heads up our UK operation, I look forward to presenting him with his well-earned award on 18 September. I'm confident that the Meguiar's Award will become a major annual event in the UK, just as it is in the States."