DONINGTON PARK

http://www.donington-park.co.uk

Donington Park

Castle Donington

Derby

DE7 2RP

Tel: 01332 810048

Fax: 01332 850422

Bernd Rosemeyer winning the 1937 Donington Grand Prix in his Auto Union

Bernd Rosemeyer winning the 1937 Donington Grand Prix in his Auto Union

 

Upcoming Historic Racing

April 7th/8th - Historic Sports Car Club, Formula Junior (Sunday only).

 

4th/6th May - Donington Historic Festival - The Donington Historic Festival (DHF) brings world-class historic motor racing to one of the UK’s best-loved circuits, as packed grids of classic race cars come together from around the world to delight the crowds with hard-fought, highly competitive racing.

 

DHF features racing machines spanning nine decades and, with everything from single-seaters and pre-War sports cars to Le Mans prototypes, GT cars, Touring Cars and Super Tourers, the event offers something for everybody, regardless of what era of motorsport you're into. Add an all-access open paddock that lets you get close to all that priceless metal, pitlane walks, thousands of classic cars from dozens of clubs gathering to form a ‘living motor museum’ in the infield, some great trade stands and DHF’s family-friendly, inclusive atmosphere, and you have the recipe for a fantastic three-day weekend.

 

June 24th - Vintage Motorsport Festival - The Vintage Motorsport Festival heads to Donington Park for a glorious day of motor racing dating back to the very cradle of the sport. Many of the cars racing at this event are rarely seen in action, and are some of the most entertaining to behold.

 

Many of these cars raced in a fearless age where competitors fought for the honour and glory of the sport. Entries in Formula Vintage regularly feature cars that have raced in famous international races including the Mille Miglia and Le Mans, and may include cars that raced during Donington’s golden pre-WWII era.

 

There will be prestigious races for Vintage, Pre-1961 and Pre-war Sports-Cars, whilst ever-popular Scratch and Handicap formats will complete another exciting programme.

 

July 14th/15th - MGCC. Racing this weekend will be the MGCC MG Trophy, MGCC BCV8 Championship, MGCC Peter Best Insurance MG Cup, MGCC Drayton Manor MG Metro Cup, MGCC Lackford Engineering MG Midget/Sprite Challenge, MGCC Cockshoot Cup, MGCC Triple M Race, MGCC Iconic 50s, Equipe GTS, Equipe GTS Pre 63 , Equipe GTS Relay, and joining the MGCC will be the Morgan Sports Car Club.

 

July 29th - AMOC. The line-up will feature several AMOC staples including theAMOC Intermarque Championship, GT Challenge, 50s Sports Cars, Pre War Team Challenge, and joining the AMOC will be the Porsche Club Championship.

 

Sept 15th/16th - CSCC. The Classic Sports Car Club are back at Donington Park this weekend for the final time in 2018 for an early autumn race meeting on the GP circuit.

 

Saturday will feature the Adams & Page Swinging Sixties, Mintex Classic K, Advantage Motorsport Future Classics, Open Series, Toyo Tires/Watchdogapp.com Jaguar Saloon and GT Championship.

 

Sunday will feature the Tin Tops, Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens, Modern Classics, RSV Graphics New Millennium, Motorsports School Turbo Tin Tops.

 

Oct 14th - HRDC Touring Greats, Allstars & Coombs championships.

 

 

 

Circuit History

Donington Park has had a somewhat troubled history in recent years but is now back on the scene, especially so because of its new annual Historic Festival - scheduled to take place in May in 2013.

 

The circuit owes its origins to another motorbike rider - this time Fred Craner. In 1931 Fred was the owner of a garage in Derby and the secretary of the Derby & District Motor Club. Being himself a keen rider (he had taken part in seven Isle of Man TT races) he approached the owner of the Donington Hall estate requesting use of the extensive roads for racing.

The first track was just over 2 miles in length on pretty rough surfaces and hosted its first race on Whit Monday in 1931. In just two years permission was granted to build a permanent track. March 25th 1933 saw the first car race with the Donington Park Trophy on 7th October being the highlight of the calendar with Earl Howe racing to victory in a Bugatti Type 51.

 

1935 saw another of our heroes take victory - Richard Shuttleworth, founder of the superb Shuttleworth Collection winning Donington’s first 300 mile Grand Prix in an Alfa Romeo P3. Dick Seaman won in 1936 and a more international feel hit the Park as Grand Prix racing returned in 1937 and 38 - the years of the Auto Union Silver Arrows with victories by Rosemeyer and Nuvolari respectively. 1939 was different altogether with the area being requisitioned by the Ministry Of Defence for a vehicle Depot as war began.

 

Fast forward to 1971 and enter Tom Wheatcroft a car collector and businessman of great repute. Wheatcroft moved his collection to the circuit in ’73 and it remains there to this day. Many more recent additions have followed and the museum now has the largest collection of Grand Prix cars in the world and includes Stirling Moss’ 1961 Monaco winning Lotus 18.

The circuit itself re-opened in May 1977 and circuit began attracting more events and more investment into the infrastructure. 1985 saw the Melbourne Loop added increasing the lap distance to 2.5. The shorter National circuit is used for most Historic and Club events.

 

In 2007 Wheatcroft sold a long lease to a new operator DVLL. The following years were troubled with DVLL failing to pay rent to Wheatcroft’s holding company with an out of court settlement finally being agreed. At this point the circuit had been awarded the British Grand Prix but investment was not forthcoming and DVLL fell into administration. The British Grand Prix was given back to Silverstone and the whole afffair consigned to history. Donington was not over, though. Ownership reverted to the Wheatcroft family and racing has returned once more. The museum alone is worth a visit for Historic Racing fans but combined with a racing day it is a must.

Circuit Highlights

1. Wheatcroft Straight leads slightly downhill past the pit complex.

2. The Craner Curves are a fast right followed by a left which tightens. This difficult combination is made harder still by both curves being on a steep downhill gradient. The large infield is forgiving and whilst you might not have expensive repair bills from hitting a tyre wall you can lose a lot of time sliding on the grass.

3. McLeans Corner is deceptively tight and the gravel trap is frequently visited. From the corner it’s flat out up an incline and over the brow.

4. Coppice Corner is blind and quick. Get the wrong line in and you’ll be spat out on the exit. Good exit speed is essential for the following straight - Starkeys.

5. Starkeys Straight is long and flat out. Where you brake at the end of the straight depends on the circuit configuration as it could be either left for the GP circuit or right on the National.

In Car Video

Where To Watch

• Starkey’s Straight is not that great a place to watch as the view is obscured by the Museum.

• Old Hairpin has good viewing but from a bit of a distance.

• Craner Curves infield viewing is high up and offers a good view of much of the circuit.

• Stand on the outfield of McCleans to get closer to the action and to see any unfortunate cars slide into the gravel.

• From Redgate and Hollywood you can see right along the start/finish straight and onto the first corner.

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