MotorSport Vision (MSV), celebrates its 20th anniversary today (Friday 5 January).
And the organisation which oversees the operation of six major UK venues, in addition to the Circuito de Navarra facility in northern Spain, remains in exceptionally strong health ahead of what is set to be a busy 2024 season.
Founded by former Grand Prix driver Jonathan Palmer, Sir Peter Ogden and John Britten in 2004, MSV initially took over the operation of four well known British racing circuits: Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Cadwell Park.
MSV immediately set about turning each of the venues’ fortunes around, with a major programme of improvement works carried out, and the high standards for venue presentation and customer experience established during that initial period remain in force today.
Developments didn’t end there, with Snetterton undergoing a wholsesale redevelopment including an all-new 3-mile circuit layout for 2011.
The business expanded its interests in 2006 with the founding of MotorSport Vision Racing (MSVR) as an officially affiliated race event organiser, whilst MotorSport Vision Trackdays (MSVT), also created that year, is now established as one of the UK’s leading track day organisers.
Another significant business development followed in 2008 when MSV acquired the commercial and organisational rights for the British Superbike Championship (BSB). This makes annual visits to all of MSV’s race circuits and still thrives today as the biggest domestic motorsport series in the UK.
Further motorsport interests have included a firm commitment from MSV to providing cost-effective options for single-seater hopefuls chasing a career in F1. These include the FIA Formula Two Championship, which ran internationally for four seasons,
and the GB3 Championship, which under its previous names of British F3 and BRDC F4 produced high profile graduates George Russell and Lando Norris.
A major addition to the UK portfolio came in 2017 when MSV took over the operation of the circuit business and estate at Donington Park. The venue has undergone a multi-million pound development in the years since, including the addition of the impressive Garage 39 restaurant and bar, with other facilities significantly improved.
This was followed in 2021 by the purchase of the freehold for the Donington Hall Estate, reinstating the historic association with the Donington Park circuit. MSV is currently developing the spectacular 1790 Grade II* listed Donington Hall into a superb 49 bedroom hotel, whilst the Hastings House building will be transformed into the state of the art Donington Hall Motorhouse, which aims to be the UK's most prestigious stabling facility for supercars, classic road and racing cars and motorcycles.
In more recent times, MSV has expanded internationally with MSV’s freehold purchase of Couvron, a substantial former military airbase in north-east France, first announced in 2015. Fresh proposals to establish the site as the world’s first self-sufficient eco circuit were revealed in 2022 and work at the site is ongoing.
Circuito de Navarra was the latest overseas addition in November 2022. MSV completed the first phase of improvements at the venue northern Spain last year and visitors have already been impressed by the progress made. MSV has very ambitious plans for the next stage of works, which will enable the circuit to unlock its full potential, with full details to be announced very shortly.
Throughout MSV’s tenure, all of its UK venues have retained a key place on the national motorsport calendar, with the country’s leading championships on two and four wheels regular annual visitors. Notable landmark fixtures during the past two decades include Brands Hatch hosting the inaugural A1 Grand Prix World Cup of Motorsport event in front of a huge crowd in 2005. The Kent venue also made the most of a once in a generation opportunity to act as a Paralympic Games host venue for London 2012.
MSV’s growth follows a successful earlier business career from Palmer which included the launch of the renowned PalmerSport driving day, originally known as Jonathan Palmer Promo Sport, in 1991. PalmerSport moved to its permanent home at Bedford Autodrome in 1999, and the dedicated driving facility continues to flourish under MSV’s watch with a busy calendar of track days and PalmerSport event dates each year.