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Donington Park (Castle Donington, Derbyshire)

An image of Donington Park (Castle Donington, Derbyshire)

The Track

At Donington drivers will have to face some of the most nerve-racking corners in British motorsport. Straight into the mayhem you will first battle a tight right-hander at Redgate, from which you are gently eased into Hollywood and the rollercoaster ride of the Craner Curves.

As the track continues, out of the curves you will hit the Old Hairpin, a quick corner that propels you into Macleans and onto the blind approach of the legendary Coppice. Exiting fast to the Fogarty Esses you finish the circuit in front of the pit lane wall, driving flat out on the Wheatcroft Straight.

Facilities

As a major racing venue Donington offers a range of facilities for driving experience participants and spectators. Take a well-earned cup of tea with friends and family in the Pit-Stop Diner, situated in the main paddock. Or grab something stronger at Starkey's Bar and watch the action unfold between the Old Hairpin and Macleans.

After your time on the track is over take a visit to the Donington Grand Prix Collection. The world’s largest collection of Grand Prix cars, Donington Park houses some of the oldest and most recognisable vehicles in motorsport history.

With over 130 exhibits spread across five halls, visitors are able to get close to the famous cars driven by legends such as Moss, Stewart, Mansell, Prost and Senna.

Home to the largest collection of McClaren and Williams racing cars, outside of their respective factories, as well as a complete set of Vanwalls, the exhibition is now pleased to offer visitors the chance to view part of the Wheatcroft collection. Never seen before in public, the new exhibition showcases 18 cars and motorcycles, including armoured fighting vehicles and tanks from World War II.

If all this sightseeing sounds like hard-work, the Donington Grand Prix Collection houses its own cafe. So why not supplement your visit to the museum with a coffee and cake?

The popular Download Festival rolls into Donington Park every June, silencing the engines with a weekend of Heavy Metal excess. In the past it has featured artists including Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC and Metallica.

Donington Park has something to offer everybody and with an Experience Mad package you can make your driving dreams reality, from novice to advanced, supercar to wine bar - the historical Donington Park circuit has it all.

Famous as much for exploits on the track as off them, over the years Donington Park has showcased everybody from the greats of motorsport to the monsters of rock.

History

Built in the grounds of the Donington Hall estate, the original track was created in 1931 as a temporary circuit to race motorbikes. Made permanent in 1933, the track hosted its first car race the same year and two years later was home to the inaugural Donington Park Grand Prix, a 300 mile race won by Richard 'Mad Jack' Shuttleworth.

Unfortunately it hasn't been all smooth sailing; or should that be driving? With the outbreak of World War II, racing was put on hold and it would be nearly 40 years until competitive racing once again hallowed Donington's tarmac. Purchased by Tom Wheatcroft, a local businessman and motorsport enthusiast, Donington Park is now re-established as the rightful home of British motorcycling. With the Melbourne Loop added in 1985, increasing the national circuit distance from 1.957 miles (3.149 km) to a Grand Prix accommodating 2.5 miles (4.02 km).

With both the Moto GP Championship and the British Superbike Championship raced over the circuit, it is not only two-wheeled speed freaks that get all the fun. In the past, Donington has been home to the British Touring Car Championship, the Le Mans 24 hour endurance race and probably the most memorable, Formula One's 1993 European Grand Prix. In torrential rain and driving an inferior car, the legendary Ayrton Senna advanced from fifth to first place in the opening lap, holding on to take victory almost a minute ahead of his nearest rival. In what has been described as the drive of the decade a memorial to Senna, who died in 1994, now stands inside Donington Park.

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Experiences at Donington Park (Castle Donington, Derbyshire)

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