The vast historic collections of McLaren & Williams cars at the Donington Grand Prix Collection have been removed in preparation for the full closure of the museum on November 5th.
Boasting a a huge collection of Formula 1 cars, vehicles from other motorsport series, as well as an expansive military collection, the museum contained two halls dedicated to behemoths of British motorsport: McLaren & Williams. The famous collections have now been collected by the respective teams as the clear out of the halls of the museums has begun. So extensive is the clearout, that even dummies of the race drivers, such as Ayrton Senna, are having their overalls and kit removed.
FormulaSpy understands that the IndyCar hallway has also been cleared out, while memorabilia cabinets containing helmets & suits are empty.
Contrary to some reports, the museum has not already closed and it will remain open until, as planned, November 5th.
The museum opened in 1973, run by avid collector of Grand Prix machinery Tom Wheatcroft. A former builder who attended motorcycle races at the venue in the late 1930s, he used savings to buy an old 1951 Ferrari F1 car in 1964 before buying several more cars over the following years. Initially keeping the cars at home, he purchased the unit which would become the museum in 1971.
Tom Wheatcroft died in 2009, with the business passing to his son Kevin. However, nine years later, Kevin says it’s time for the business to close. “Closing the Museum after 45 years has been a really difficult decision, but family responsibilities simply make it the right thing to do.” he told the Leicester Mercury.