Extensive winter works ready for new season as five years of investment and redevelopment at Donington Park nears completion
The refurbishment of the Donington Park circuit and estate is now nearing completion after five years of work on the venue.
Over winter 2015-16, a further £750,000 has been invested in the circuit and the estate, and in improved spectator facilities, bringing total investment since 2010 to just over £11.5 million.
On the racetrack itself, once again the safety facilities have been extended, with a further 250 metres of new FIA and FIM-grade debris fencing installed on the Melbourne GP Loop section.
Further improvements include a new tyre wall at Hollywood, while all the famous blue and white walls and barriers around the circuit received a fresh coat of paint. The Winners’ Podium has also been updated over the winter, with a full rebuild of the stage and backdrop. Importantly, the marshals’ posts have also seen fresh investment, with new running areas and post protection.
Race teams, drivers and riders, track day enthusiasts and the many corporate circuit users will benefit from these new investments. Of particular note are the new paddock facilities such as self-service electrical and water points now available in Paddock Two, while the toilet block in Paddock One has had a major refurbishment.
For spectators, new seating is being installed in the main Paddock Grandstand, while a new spectator bank is being built on the infield at the exit of Robert’s Chicane. These additions are being added to the spectacular new viewing positions opened in 2015, which the extensive earthworks of the past four winters have created, and which will be open section by section as the ground settles and the grass grows stronger. Also, and in addition to the innovative Donington App, spectators will benefit from a re-cabled PA system around the circuit, which has several new speakers installed.
One landscape feature has gone. The Craner hospitality suites, which have not been usable since 2010, have now been demolished, with the area ear-marked as a future additional public viewing area. And at some expense, a settlement of bats, which were discovered to be occupying the disused building, have been re-settled in the required new ‘bat house’.
The Donington Park Collections museum building has also seen much work over recent months. The expansion of the Wheatcroft Military Collection into two halls has attracted fresh visitor numbers, as has the constantly changing display in the Grand Prix Collection, with many new acquisitions. The museum’s Grand Prix Café has been completely refurbished and is now an even more comfortable environment to enjoy food and drink seven days a week. Facilities for all Collections visitors have been upgraded and improved toilets installed also for disabled users, as well as new baby changing facilities.
Donington Park Managing Director Christopher Tate commented: “Once again, we’ve undertaken a lot of work at Donington Park over the winter break. The final count of new material into the centre of the infield now exceeds 650,000 tonnes, creating excellent new spectating and commercial areas. The 4 x 4 course opened in October has been busy. We appreciate that not all of these years of work are instantly noticeable, but we are sure that every aspect of this continuing impressive investment will have direct benefit to everyone visiting Donington, for whatever purpose. It’s taken five winters and – together with signature new buildings like the FIA Formula E plaza – it’s been a lengthy process. But we can now say the Park is in the best condition it’s ever been in.
“Our owner and Chairman Kevin Wheatcroft and all of us here at Donington are very proud to have got this famous and forward thinking venue into this position. Now we are able to focus on what we can do for the future, as we now begin to implement the next stages and improve further.”