Donington Park is a motorsport circuit near Castle Donington in Leicestershire, England. Originally part of the Donington Hall estate, it was created as a racing circuit during the pre-war period when the German Silver Arrows were battling for the European Championship. Used as a military vehicle storage depot during World War II, it fell into disrepair until bought by local construction entrepreneur Tom Wheatcroft. Revived under his ownership in the 1970s, it hosted a single Formula One race, but became the favoured home of the British round of the Moto GP motorcycling championship. Leased by Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd in 2007 the hope that Formula One racing could return to the track, the incomplete venture failed to raise sufficient financial backing during the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis. DVLL consequently lost the rights to the British rounds of both Formula1 and MotoGP, and in its bankruptcy returned the track to the Wheatcroft family in December 2009.
Beside motorsports many other events are held at Donington including Music Festivals like the Download Festival, the Donington Park Sunday Market and the Donington Grand Prix Museum exhibition.
Donington Park has a long history of holding rock festivals having played host to the Monsters of Rock festival from 1980 to the mid 90s, when groups such as AC/DC, Metallica and Iron Maiden performed there. With a few years off The Park then played host to Stereophonics' A Day At The Races event and the Rock and Blues Festival in 2001, and the Ozzfest in 2002. In 2003, the Download Festival (owned and operated by Live Nation) began annually at the venue and continues to an increased three day event with five stages, though as of 2008 the event is now held outside of the track boundary.
Donington Grand Prix Exhibition:
The Donington Grand Prix Exhibition first opened to the public in March 1973. Five halls, with over 130 exhibits, illustrate the history of motor sport from the turn of the 20th Century. Cars include examples driven by such famous names as Nuvolari, Mansell, Prost, Moss, Senna, Fangio, Clark and Stewart. The Donington Grand Prix Exhibition houses a collection of McLaren and Vanwalls racing cars. Notable exhibits include the 1936 twin engined 500 bhp (373 kW) Alfa Romeo Bimotore which has a top speed of 200 mph (320 km/h), Jim Clark's World Championship winning Lotus 25, the 'howling' flat 12 Ferrari 312B, and Stirling Moss's Lotus, in which he defeated the Ferrari works team in the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix. The Collection also features the World's largest collection of Driver's Helmets. There are several different type of simulators that allow users to experience the thrills of racing at speed. The exhibition has currently re-opened as of 6 January 2010 along with the cafe and race control offices.
- Major Events: WTCC, BTCC, British F3, British Superbikes,
WSBK, MotoGP, Superleague Formula, Pickup Truck
Racing, Download Festival
Grand Prix Circuit
- Length: 4.020 km (2.498 mi)
- Turns: 12
- Lap Record: 1:18.029 (Ayrton Senna, McLaren MP4/8, 1993 European Grand Prix, F1)
- Length: 3.149 km (1.957 mi)
- Turns: 10
- Lap Record: 0:57.221 (Marijn van Kalmthout, Benetton B197, 2011, BOSS GP)