The Donington Historic Festival is a new annual event that marks the resurgence of this great British circuit and home of our own Club Lotus Show and Festival. It promises to be a fantastic weekend for enthusiasts, with superb on-track action from 300 historic racing cars from the 1930s to the 1980s.
The Festival includes Group C Le Mans sportscars, Porsche 917s and Ferrari GTO’s, pre-War Bentleys, Bugattis and Alfa Romeos and far more besides. There is free paddock access, allowing everyone to get up close to these outstanding racing machines, plus off-track displays and action, Group B rally cars, historic karts, autojumble and memorabilia stalls, cafés, bars and food outlets.
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 plus 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.
The feature race on the Saturday evening will be a 250km, two-driver endurance race for sports prototypes of the type that competed in the World Endurance Championships from 1968-71. In addition - and thanks to Group C Racing - the immensely popular Group C cars will be battling it out on track at the Festival, bringing the thrills of top-level sportscar racing from the 1980’s. Plus there will be pre-63 GT’s, 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.
The latest highlight announced for the event is the ‘Mad Jack’ – a race named in honour of Richard ‘Mad Jack’ Shuttleworth, the pre-War racing driver famous for his daring exploits in both aeroplanes and cars, and the winner of the first ever Donington Grand Prix, in 1935.The ‘Mad Jack’ will be a truly spectacular 45-minute, 2-driver race, for the most dramatic and entertaining sportscars from the pre-War era. The organisers are inviting huge, powerful 8-litre Bentleys, Type 35 Bugattis and Alfa 8C Monzas, the sort of cars which are raced flat-out, in hairy, four-wheel slides, along with a full array of pre-War models from such marques as Aston Martin and BMW, through to Talbot and Frazer Nash.
The Donington Historic Festival will also be notable for the return of the legendary Group B rally cars. Over the weekend of the Festival, spectators will be treated to a full power demonstration of these iconic ‘too fast to race’ rally machines.
From 1972 until the 1990s, Donington was used, on and off, as a stage on the annual RAC Rally. This included the era of the stunning Group B rally cars of the 1980s, when the Group B rules allowed unlimited boost, along with low weight and high-tech materials. The result was genuinely staggering performance, so much so that in 1986 a series of fatal accidents saw the sudden withdrawal of Group B and the outrageously quick rally cars it had spawned.
At the Donington Historic Festival, a line-up of original works rally warriors will be put into action by the ‘Rallying with Group B’ club members, reviving the fire and fury of these spectacular machines. Spectators can expect to see and hear flame-spitting Audi Quattros, MG Metro 6R4, Ford RS200, Lancia 037, Porsche 911 RSR, Peugeot 205 T16 – and even an example of the exotic Group B Ferrari 308 GTB. The rally cars will perform their spectacular stuff on a specially designed, all-Tarmac stage on the GP loop, with full, free spectator access.
For more information on the Donington Historic Festival, see www.doningtonhistoric.com
Special Club Lotus ticket offer
Donington Park are offering all Club Lotus members a special discount on tickets for their inaugural Donington Historic Festival on April 30th-May 1st. Members can buy two tickets for the whole weekend (including free paddock access) for just £30 (i.e. £15 each) as opposed to the on-the-gate entry price of £22 per person per day. You’ll also be parked in the club display area at the heart of all the action and Donington may also be offering parade laps for a limited number of cars from clubs who attend - details to follow!
Discount club tickets can be booked through www.doningtonhistoric.com or by calling the 24-hour ticket hotline 0844 873 7355. To receive your discount members need to book in advance and quote our unique booking code – just call Club HQ and we’ll tell you what it is.