THE inaugural Donington Historic Festival, which will run from April 29 to May 1 next year, will be rounds from three new series – backed up by a wide mix of races spanning the history of motorsport.
The first race to be confirmed for Donington is ‘Touring Greats’, for pre-1960 Touring Cars, launched by Julius Thurgood. “Having collaborated with the team at Goodwood to develop the crowd-pleasing St Mary’s Trophy, I see this new series as a ‘call to arms’ for owners of diminutive Austin A35s, bulky Jaguar MkVIIs and just about every model of Aunt Agatha’s 50s era ‘jellymould’ shopping car, from Standard Vanguards, Volvo PV544s and Moggie Minors, to Fiat 600s.” While taking a more ‘pragmatic’ approach to period specifications than other races at the Festival, it’s sure to provide a huge spectator attraction.
Secondly, Donington will host the first ever race of the new series for 1977-85 Touring Cars, just launched by Motor Racing Legends. To be called the JD Classics Challenge, the series will be for Groups 1 and 2, and Group A Touring Cars, such as raced in the British and European Touring Car Championships between 1977 and 1985: the time of TWR XJ-S and BMW 528, Alfa GTV6, Audi Coupé and Ford Sierra XR4i, piloted in their day by such stars as Win Percy and Andy Rouse.
And thirdly, the feature race on the Saturday evening of the Donington Historic Festival, on April 30, will be a 250km, two-driver endurance race for sports prototypes of the type that competed in the World Endurance Championships from 1968-71. This is, again, the first ever round of a new series – launched by Carol Spagg and Jason Wright – a 1000km challenge comprising four, individual, 250km races spread across the year, each held at a top-level event. Donington is the first.
The immensely popular Group C cars will also be battling it out on track at the Festival, bringing the thrills of top-level sportscar racing from the 1980s. Plus there will be pre-63 GTs, Formula Junior, U2TC, along with the Stirling Moss Trophy, Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy, Motor Racing Legends Pre-War Sports Car Series and much more besides.
“As soon as we announced the new Donington Historic Festival, race organisers were on the phone showing tremendous enthusiasm for holding their ‘season-openers’ at the reinvigorated Donington circuit,” says Duncan Wiltshire, who is running the Festival in partnership with Donington.
“Everyone seems keen to be part of this fabulous new event. We expected a positive response, but even we were overwhelmed by the reaction of the race organisers – and by the owners and drivers themselves, who have been calling us non-stop to ask what races are being held.”