Leicester

Donington Collection Museum announces closure

Tom Wheatcroft at Donington Collection Museum Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Donington Collection Museum was opened in 1973 by Frederick Bernard "Tom" Wheatcroft

A museum housing the world's largest display of Grand Prix racing cars is to close "imminently" after 45 years.

Donington Collection Museum has rare, vintage and modern cars including Ferrari, BRM, Lotus, Mercedes-Benz, McLaren and Williams models.

Its owner said the "really difficult decision" was taken due to "family responsibilities".

The museum, based at the Donington Park racetrack in Leicestershire, will close on 5 November.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The display includes a Lotus 18, which Stirling Moss (pictured) drove to win two GPs

Owner Kevin Wheatcroft has been running the museum since his father died in 2009.

He said: "Closing the museum after 45 years has been a really difficult decision, but family responsibilities simply make it the right thing to do."

Frederick Bernard "Tom" Wheatcroft, who made his fortune from his building business, opened the museum in 1973.

In 1964, he bought a 13-year-old Formula 1 Ferrari single-seater racing car "just for fun - and I caught the collecting bug".

Over the following six years, he acquired more historic Formula 1 machines and kept the cars at his Leicester home.

The collection includes:

  • BRM group's legendary 1950-55 V16-cylinder design with Rolls-Royce supercharging
  • The Lotus 18 which Stirling Moss drove to win both the 1961 Monaco and German GPs
  • The very first Formula 1 car built and raced by triple world champion driver Jack Brabham

In 1971, the motor sports enthusiast bought the circuit section of Donington Park and built the museum for his fleet of racing cars.

More of the world's finest cars were later brought or loaned to the collection.

Over 45 years, more than 2.5m people have visited the attraction.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tom Wheatcroft became a motor sports enthusiast after his first race meeting at Donington Park

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