The Donington Park motor racing circuit has recently enjoyed a royal visit – from a Saudi prince who is a very keen motorsports competitor.
Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal, 26, has raced in the Formula BMW series, coming third in the 2007 domestic season in the Middle East. He has also competed in with some success in the 24 Hours of Dubai endurance race as well as the Middle East GT3 Challenge and the Porsche Supercup.
He has an association with Lechner Racing in Austria and operates his own Al Faisal Racing team which has the distinction of being the first to stand under the Saudi flag on the podium of an FIA-accredited event.
The prince visited Donington on the eve of the British Touring Car Championship event. According to the Leicester Mercury, he was shown around by circuit promoter Simon Gillett and Norton Motorcycles boss Stuart Garner, whose company is based at Donington Park.
In other news, the circuit is now little more than a week away from the court case that could decide the future of the British Grand Prix.
On Monday June 8 Derby Crown Court is due to hear a case brought by Wheatcroft & Son, the company of Donington Park owner Tom Wheatcroft and his son Kevin, which is suing Gillett’s company Donington Ventures Leisure Limited for £2.47 million in allegedly unpaid rent and the return of the circuit lease.
If the case has already been settled then there has been no public announcement, although this could well be explained at the hearing itself.
The dispute also means that a vital planning document requiring the owners’ signature has not been signed, with the local authority giving Gillett until the end of June to resolve the situation or have the necessary planning permission for upgrades revoked.
Gillett has called the case “a misunderstanding” and said he is confident the situation can be resolved.
He also recently told the Leicester Mercury: “There are no problems with raising the money we need for the track. We will be making an announcement in time, but I won’t go into that at the moment.
“Debentures will play a part of that but we will make a full announcement at a later date.”