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NOTICE OF DEATH TOM WHEATCROFT

It is with great regret that the Club has to announce the death of Honorary Member Tom Wheatcroft who died on Saturday 31 October 2009. The owner of Donington Park Circuit, Tom’s contribution to motor sport was enormous. Tom’s enthusiasm showed itself through the many different involvements he had with motor sport from team owner, through circuit owner and promoter of the European Grand Prix in 1993, through to the building and sharing of his beloved Grand Prix collection – home to one of the biggest and most varied collection of racing cars in the world.

Tom’s fascination with motor sport, and Donington Park in particular, had been ignited when as a small boy he cycled to see the Donington Grand Prix’s in 1937 and 1938. Many years later, having built and developed a successful building business, he was in a position to purchase the freehold of Donington Park in 1971 and he set about recommissioning it as one of the country’s most popular motor racing circuits with racing re-starting in 1977.

As a private team owner he personally oversaw the development and career of his protégé Roger Williamson whose death in a motor racing accident in 1973 was known to have hit Tom extremely hard. A long time personal desire to see Grand Prix racing return to Donington Park came to fruition when Donington hosted the European Grand Prix in 1993. The event, although a massive logistical and commercial challenge for Tom, resulted in one of the most memorable Grand Prix of all time with Ayrton Senna taking an amazing victory in a rain soaked race.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced and members will be made aware of when they are so. Deepest sympathies go to Joy, Kevin and the Wheatcroft family.

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