Photos and Report: Donington Historic Festival 2011
Twelve races; 300 historic racing cars out on track; 38 car clubs with 100s of cars on display; 12,000 people and two days of non-stop sunshine. The first ever Donington Historic Festival could hardly be bettered, but plans are already afoot to make the 2012 event even more enticing, while keeping true to the Festival’s ethos of family-friendly ticket prices, free access to the paddock and off-track activities, plus a firm focus on top-level racing action from the cream of Europe’s historic cars and drivers.
The variety of motorsport action at the 2011 Festival was enormous, aiming to provide something for everyone: from single-seaters to Touring Cars; pre-War racers to Group C; Astons, Ferraris, Jaguars and Maseratis to Listers, Lolas and Bentleys; and from high-octane racing to demonstrations of Group B rally cars and historic karts.
“This was the first time we’d run the Festival, so we couldn’t be absolutely certain how it would turn out,” said event organiser Duncan Wiltshire, “but it exceeded our most optimistic expectations in every way: the spectators, the weather, the revitalised circuit, but above all the racing.
“We saw huge grids of some of the best historic cars in Europe, with racing that was incredibly close and unbelievably exciting. The advantage of Donington, of course, is that it’s such a spectacular circuit for watching the action: from the restructured infield you have a fabulous view of the twists, turns and gradients. There are few places in Europe which offer such a superb ‘amphitheatre’ from which to watch a race.
“The Group B rally cars and historic karts in action on the Grand Prix loop also proved enormously popular. We’ve had the most fantastic feedback from spectators – and from the 38 car clubs who took part, bringing their treasured classics to park in the infield and provide yet another attraction for visitors. We’re already discussing possible dates for the 2012 Festival, and hope to announce these as soon as possible.”
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