Donington Park gearing up for annual Historic Festival
The Donington Historic Festival returns to the Leicestershire circuit this weekend (2-4 May) for three days of world class historic highlights featuring priceless cars, top line drivers and a packed schedule of 20 races, as well as a multitude of off track entertainment.
A huge field of 400 historic cars will compete across the weekend, with their value escalating well into the tens of millions of pounds bracket.
The racing action at Donington this Bank Holiday promises to appeal to visitors of all ages, with sonorous engine notes, immensely valuable grids and hundreds of cars recreating days gone by at this world famous circuit.
Cars from as far back as the 1920s are expected to be in action across 14 different race categories. Historic single seater action comes from Grand Prix cars spanning five decades as well as Formula Junior and Formula Two. Around 70 cars are entered to do battle in Formula Junior!
Other highlights include sports car races featuring machinery from the 1950s and 60s, with a special ‘1000km’ race lasting two and a half hours taking place on Saturday evening, recreating the fabulous Le Mans sports car battles of the early 1970s. A new addition to the line-up this year brings countless Jaguar sports cars into battle, with action from the HSCC Jaguar Heritage Challenge.
Tin top fans also have plenty to savour, with several touring car championships in action, including the popular Super Touring Car trophy, which brings back to life the cars that made British Touring Cars a worldwide hit in the 1980s and 1990s.
Track activity begins at 9.10 on all three days, with action lasting until well past 7pm on Saturday and Sunday, and 18.30 on Monday. A full event timetable can be downloaded here.
80th anniversary of first Donington Grand Prix commemorated
The 80th anniversary of the first Grand Prix at Donington will be commemorated at this year’s festival. The 1935 race was won by Richard Shuttleworth in an Alfa Romeo and cars from that era will race in the Historic Grand Prix Association, including the ERA R4A machine that was piloted to victory by Pat Fairfield at Donington in the 1935 Nuffield Trophy. Other cars racing in this contest include those previously driven by the likes of Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss and Bruce McLaren.
Bringing the celebrations into more modern eras, there will be demonstrations from more recent F1 machinery including the 1984 Toleman Hart which propelled Ayrton Senna to fame, as well as a 1989 Lotus Judd, previously driven by Nelson Piquet.
Parades, demonstrations and exhibitions
Of course it’s not just the racing which makes the Donington Historic Festival one of the most popular events on the calendar. As well as parades from the F1 cars, there will also be demonstrations from historic karts and rally cars, including the monstrous Group B machinery from the 1980s.
Countless car clubs will also be on display across the venue while a new feature sees all spectators entering the venue via the Exhibition Centre, where the F1 cars will be on full display as well as a dazzling showcase of supercars throughout the decades, and the paddock for the rally cars.
Village parade on Saturday night
Many of the cars racing on the circuit this weekend will parade into Castle Donington village on Saturday evening, allowing a rare chance to see thoroughbred racing cars on the streets of one of the most scenic villages in the East Midlands!
Donington Park Managing Director Christopher Tate commented: “The Donington Historic Festival has quickly become one of the most cherished events on our international race calendar, and something we look forward to with great anticipation each year. The racing is always spectacular, the line-up of cars more dazzling with each year, and plenty to see both on and off the track. Donington is one of the most historic sporting venues in the UK, and this event offers a real glimpse into our history, dating back to the 1930s. It really is unmissable!”
Festival founder Duncan Wiltshire added: “The Donington Historic Festival is only five years old but it's a 'must-do' event on the international calendar. The reason is clear: the combination of hugely entertaining motor racing, fantastic off-track attractions and that very special Donington Park atmosphere that makes it such an outstanding circuit to race and spectate at. We are very much looking forward to another superb weekend.”
Advance discounted tickets can be bought here and through the 24-hour ticket hotline 0844 873 7355 until 5pm today, after which tickets will be available on the gate at the event. Advance tickets cost £20 for a single day ticket, £32 for a two-day ticket and just £45 for a three-day weekend ticket (on-the-gate prices will be £25, £40 and £60 respectively). Children aged 15 and under are admitted for free.