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|Jonathan Palmer |
MotorSport Vision (MSV) is a motorsport organisations and an operator of six UK venues. MSV has a portfolio ranging from major two and four wheel championships to organising the PalmerSport corporate driving event.
In 2006, MSV formed MotorSport Vision Racing (MSVR), providing a complete car and bike racing organisation capability to the MotorSport Vision group. MSVR organises over 30 events annually across 10 UK circuits. MotorSport Vision's trackday division, MSV Trackdays, has grown to become one of the UK's biggest trackday companies in the past number of years and organises novice events up to advanced driver training days. Alongside PalmerSport, MSV also run driving experiences at Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Snetterton.
In 2008 MSV also acquired the rights to the British Superbike Championship.
In September 2008 MotorSport Vision won an FIA tender to supply cars and operate the FIA Formula Two Championship, a new international single seater series derived from an FIA initiative to provide young drivers with the opportunity to compete in top-level racing on a competitive budget. The Formula Two cars, like Formula Palmer Audi, were assembled and prepared in a dedicated facility at Bedford Autodrome, also home to PalmerSport and FPA. This category was discontinued after 2012.
One of its founders, John Britten, died on 25 November 2009, after a long period of illness.
In 2013 MSV launched the BRDC Formula 4 Championship, selling all 24 cars within a month. The championship evolved to become the BRDC British F3 Championship shortly before the start of the 2016 season.
In 2015, MSV completed the freehold purchase of a substantial former military airbase in north-east France, which it will develop into a major international motorsports complex.
On 12 January 2017, MSV announced that it would take over the Donington Park circuit business and lease to the Donington Park Estate for an initial 21 year term.
In 1986, John Foulston bought Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Snetterton circuits from Grovewood Securities and established the Brands Hatch Leisure (BHL) company. The following year, the company acquired Cadwell Park before Foulston died testing a McLaren M15S Offenhauser at Silverstone. Ownership of BHL passed to his wife Mary, but the company was run by John Webb until 1990, when daughter Nicola Foulston took over the running. In that time, Brands Hatch hosted higher-profile series such as Formula 3000 and Superbike World Championship racing. 1988 saw further changes to the circuit layout, with a chicane added at Dingle Dell Corner, while Westfield Bend and Graham Hill Bend were tightened. New pits and a corporate entertainment facility were added in the late-1990s.
In 1999, Foulston announced that Brands Hatch had acquired the rights to the British Grand Prix from 2002. Whilst discussions were ongoing with regards to planning permission to bring the circuit up to F1 requirements, Foulston sold BHL to Octagon Motorsports (a subsidiary of Interpublic) for £120 m. Octagon, however, failed to obtain the necessary planning permission and instead decided to lease Silverstone in order to host the Grand Prix. However, high-profile single-seater racing did return to Brands Hatch in 2003, when a round of the CART series was held at the circuit. Despite attracting around 40,000 spectators the race was not retained for subsequent seasons.
With financial pressures stemming from running the British Grand Prix, Octagon sold off the group of four circuits, including Brands Hatch, to the MotorSport Vision group headed by ex-F1 driver Jonathan Palmer in 2004.
Subsequently, international racing returned to Brands Hatch with a large and diverse selection of events taking place at the Kent venue including the FIA World Touring Car Championship, the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport and the DTM (German Touring Cars). The circuit continues to play host to many major events including the American SpeedFest and the Blancpain GT Series, in addition to home-grown festivals such as Festival Italia and Deutsche Fest, plus all the major national motor racing championships, including Truck racing.
In 2007 Oulton park was voted the best UK circuit by British Superbike fans, whilst a BTCC meeting on Sunday 27 July 2008 saw a crowd of 35,000 attend - a record not only for the circuit but the highest crowd at any venue of the BTCC for a decade.
Snetterton was taken over by MotorSport Vision in 2004. The circuit was re-profiled to create a new three mile-long circuit, the Snetterton 300, which incorporates a new infield section integrated with a revised version of the original Snetterton circuit. New spectator banking was also added to the track to improve circuit views, whilst the restaurant and toilet facilities have been updated or replaced. A new scrutineering bay has also been added.
Snetterton is regarded as being one of the fastest tracks in the UK thanks to several long straights high-speed corners. The current lap record is held by Brazilian Felipe Nasr, who set the benchmark 1m39.933s during a British F3 race in 2011.
In 1953 the track was lengthened to 1.3 miles (2.1 km), upon the invitation of the 500 cc motorcycle-engined Formula 3 to race in a traditional bike meeting. Around 30,000 spectators attended that particular race. The original track grew to the current 2.25 miles (3.62 km) layout in 1962 and hosted the British F3 series the next May. Some of the bends are named after family members e.g. Mansfield, Charlie and Chris. Cadwell is now considered too narrow for high level car races, although club motorsport associations such as the BARC and 750MC still hold meetings. The layout is ideal for bikes however, with the British Superbike Championship round being the most popular event on the championship's calendar. Several tests and feature clips for the motoring program Fifth Gear have been filmed here.
The track, in Thurleigh near Bedford is owned by MotorSport Vision. No official motorsport events are held at the circuit but it is a popular public track day circuit and hosts the popular PalmerSport driving events, one of the leading corporate driving experience days anywhere in the world.
In January 2017, the Donington circuit business was taken over by MotorSport Vision, with the Donington Park Estate on a 21 year lease, until 2038. The acquisition of the circuit was cleared unconditionally by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in August 2017, with MSV immediately investing in a multi-million pound improvement programme over the winter of 2017/18.
MotorSport Vision's circuits hosts the British Superbike Championship, British Touring Car Championship, the British F3 and GT championships, and a range of historic events including the Oulton Park Gold Cup.
There are also numerous bike and car club meetings throughout the year, including the Britcar 'Into The Night' race at Brands Hatch. 
British Superbike Championship
In 2008 MotorSport Vision took over the responsibility for the organisation and promotion of the British Superbike Championship from Dorna. The 2008 season was MSV's first in charge, and saw Shane Byrne take the title. The championship was screened live by British Eurosport and highlights were shown later on Channel 4.
Formula Palmer Audi
Formula Palmer Audi, commonly known as FPA, was founded in 1998 by Jonathan Palmer. The ethos of FPA is to keep costs at a minimum whilst at all times promoting competitive and professional racing. The series is known for producing ex-F1 driver and IndyCar race-winner Justin Wilson and helping the career of triple World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx.
In order to keep a level playing field as much as possible, all the Formula Palmer Audi cars are run by a specialist team of FPA mechanics, rather than having separate teams. This concept of a large group of deliberately equalised cars has since been adopted by A1GP.
FPA announced a scholarship prize with the BRDC Stars of Tomorrow KF2 karting championship, and with the newly revived FIA Formula Two Championship, positioning the series as a fantastic intermediary step between karts and top-level single seaters.
FPA folded after the 2010 season.
FIA Formula Two Championship
The FIA Formula Two Championship was the revival of the Formula Two series that was highly successful from 1967 to 1985. It saw 24 drivers competing in identical MotorSport Vision-run cars with a 400 bhp Audi engine over 16 rounds.
The FIA's overall concern was that the cost of competing in motor racing at a level to progress directly to Formula One today is so high that it prevents many talented drivers from having the opportunity to participate.
In September 2008 the FIA tender to supply the cars and operate the FIA Formula Two Championship was awarded to MotorSport Vision. Compared to rival series, Formula Two will cost significantly less per season whilst allowing drivers to prove their skill and develop their racecraft in identical vehicles designed by a six-man team from WilliamsF1, led by Director of Engineering Patrick Head. The series was marred by the death of Henry Surtees, who died in an accident during a race at Brands Hatch.
The series folded in 2012.
MotorSport Vision Formula Three Cup
F3 Cup is a national motor racing series that takes place primarily in the United Kingdom with a small number of events in mainland Europe. It is a junior-level feeder formula that uses small single seater Formula Three built after 1980 and before 2007. The championship comprises nine rounds, each with two races. Each race weekend will comprise one 25-minute qualifying session and two 20-minute races.
The 2011 season saw rounds held in England at Snetterton 300 (Two rounds), Donington Park, Brands Hatch Indy, Brands Hatch GP and Oulton Park International. There is one round held in Wales at Anglesey Circuit International and one round in Belgium at Spa Francorchamps. A test drive of a Formula 2 was awarded to the most meritorious driver of the year, which was Aaron Steele.
In 2012, F3 Cup has been awarded championship status, so the F2 prize will be awarded to the driver of any class that has the most points. There is also a team championship for MSA Entrants fielding two or more cars.
BRDC British Formula 4 Championship
Originally operated by the 750 Motor Club, a deal was reached in September 2012 to pass the name onto MotorSport Vision (MSV) to create the new BRDC Formula 4 Championship.
The championship featured a mix of professional motor racing teams and privately funded drivers using identical 2.0-litre cars built by Ralph Firman's RFR company.
The series was rebranded as the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship to reflect the pace of the new cars in use from the 2016 British Formula 3 Championship season and beyond.
BRDC British Formula 3 Championship
The British Formula Three Championship, officially named the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, is a national motor racing series that takes place in the United Kingdom, and previously with a small number of events held in mainland Europe.
The series uses an elevated pace Formula 4 chassis as opposed to a current FIA specification Formula 3 car. Despite this, the car is closer to the pace of a pre-2014 F3 car. The series began in March 2016, with notable former drivers including Matheus Leist, Lando Norris and Enaam Ahmed.
- Review of MSV's fleet of driving experience cars
- Personal statement by Jonathan Palmer
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- MSV takes over BSB
- BRDC Stars of Tomorrow announce scholarship prize with FPA
- FPA announce scholarship prize with F2