Donington Park in the English Midlands, the historic site of 1930s Grands Prix, has once again echoed to the sound of vintage motor racing. The circuit closed last year for major landscaping work instigated by new leaseholders whose ambitious plan to extend and re-profile the facility and wrest the British Grand Prix from Silverstone ran into financial difficulties.
With much uncertainty surrounding the future of the venue, an ever-growing group of enthusiasts, many brought together by an Internet forum, encouraged owner Kevin Wheatcroft, son of the late Tom Wheatcroft, to arrange for the reinstatement of the track and the safety inspection necessary for racing to return.
The Masters Historic Series had the privilege of staging “Donington Revived” in early September (see Page 76) on the familiar track, which has required just one major layout change to meet current requirements. The Goddards Chicane leading onto the pit straight has been moved back some 200 yards, creating an even faster entry to the first turn at Redgate.
A varied program was put together by Masters. Among the races were two for Grand Prix cars of the 1970s and early 1980s, an Interserie Revival with two raucous 1973 Matra MS670s leading the entry, World Sportcars featuring Lola T70s, Ford GT40s and Chevrons as well as sedan and sportscar races in various classes—something to appeal to every taste.
Kevin Wheatcroft and others demonstrated a selection of cars from the Donington Collection as well as private owners, including an Auto Union D Type similar to Nuvolari’s winning car at the circuit in 1938. The pit garages and paddocks were fully accessible as usual, as were the spectator banks around the outside of the circuit, affording good views. Further work will take place over the winter months to landscape the infield and make it safe for spectators once more. Yes, Donington has been revived!
By Keith Booker