Donington Historic Festival

April 27, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Simon Hadfield - Aston Martin DBR4Simon Hadfield - Aston Martin DBR4Simon Hadfield - Aston Martin DBR4 - Testing at Donington Park Circuit near Derby in England. Thursday 25.02.2016. Photo: Dave Ayres - Picturesports If you have not yet discovered the Donington Historic Festival, then you are in luck. This coming weekend (30th April to the 2nd May) sees one of the most impressive collections of classic, historic, F1 and Touring Cars gathered together for three days of competitive-yet-amicable motorsport, anywhere in the country.

I’m biased, though. Cars without sophisticated electronics, where the driver has to work every aspect of the car, are my “thing” – not to mention the event’s at Donington, one of my favourite circuits. 

Donington’s fast-flowing corners seem to bring out the best in race cars of all types. Handling is more important than power – but power helps.  Chatting in the pits to a driver who had just swapped a more powerful 4-litre engine for a 3-litre with a more progressive torque curve confirmed this theory. Despite the reduction in power he was going faster; the change in weight distribution was making the car turn better.

But, as normal, I’m already wandering off topic. The Donington Historic Festival or DHF is on over the holiday weekend 30th April to the 2nd May. Now in its 6th year, the 2016 Festival features 17 races over the three days plus all the normal qualifying sessions.

As well as the inspiring cars dating back beyond the 1950s, this year’s event also includes demonstration runs from some spectacular F1 cars on both the Saturday and the Sunday.

The newest of these cars, the Jordan EJ12, is from 2002. Add to that Michael Schumacher’s 1992 Benetton B192, and the 1990 Camel Lotus 102 that was raced by Martin Brundle. 

Representing the 1980s will be the 1983 Williams FW08 as raced by Keke Rosberg, Jean-Pierre Jarier’s 1983 Osella FA1-D and two Tolemans, the 1985 TG-185 (Teo Fabi) and 1984 TG-184 that was Ayrton Senna’s regular test car. 

I do wonder what "art work" the owners will be running on 1977 Hesketh 308E that was driven by Rupert Keegan. It was while Keegan was driving for Surtees that Durex were the sponsors. The 1977 Hesketh was sponsored by Rizla Cigarette papers, Penthouse “Gentleman’s” Magazine, along with British Air Ferries (BAF), the airline owned at the time by the Keegan family. Two out of those three may not be politically correct, but they are very much part of racing heritage, so I do hope they have stayed with them.

Phil Keen - ListerPhil Keen - ListerPhil Keen - Lister - Testing at Donington Park Circuit near Derby in England. Thursday 25.02.2016. Photo: Dave Ayres - Picturesports Should the howl of early F1 cars not be your thing, then perhaps the DHF can tempt you with the Touring Cars that started the whole BTCC movement that you see today.

Colin Turkington is racing in the HSCC Super Touring Car Challenge driving Steve Soper’s DTM BMW M3 while John Cleland is also in the mix, racing a Vauxhall Vectra (naturally).

Rickard Rydell’s 5-cylinder Volvo S40 machine will return to racing after 17 years, driven by Jason Minshaw, accompanied by a who’s-who grid of 1980 and 1990 touring cars.

Add to all of that historic F2 cars, a dedicated e-Type Jaguar race, a two-hour endurance race for 1964-71 World Sportscar Championship Sports, Touring and GT Cars and a plethora of other machinery that even includes a race converted Morris Minor “Police” car and I ask you, in all seriousness, what else are you going to do this holiday weekend? 

Go to B&Q? 


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