Donington Historic Festival 2013


The Donington Historic meeting last week-end (May 3- 5) offered up a wonderful mixture of nostalgic sights and sounds from a variety of Motor-sporting eras, but the highlight for me was seeing two cars from the Senna collection (Williams FW08C and Toleman Hart TG184-02) out on track being driven with not so much anger, more like sympathetic verve and spirit! – terrific stuff indeed.  As a tribute to the late Ayrton Senna, the festival was celebrating 30 years since his first drive in F1 and this year also marks 20 years since Senna drove to victory here to win the Europenn GP with a masterful display of driving.  A selection from the museums own collection of Senna machinery was on static display and at various stages during the week-end the crowd were treated to some demonstration laps of each of the machines. On Friday, I was lucky enough to see the Williams and Toleman circulate together and they looked and sounded glorious in what felt like the first day of Summer with the circuit bathed in warm sunshine.

Group C machinery together with some touring cars also arrived on Friday but were not due to run until the following day, so I had to be content with admiring them inside the garage as they lay silent – can’t have everything!

The plethora of pre 40’s stuff was just amazing with every car prepared to the highest standard and running very strongly out on track – a testament to the commitment and preparation that goes into keeping these cars running – apart from having to own ones own private bank!– quite unbelievable for machinery which is over 70 years old!

It was great to see the pre ’72 stuff out on track like the Lola T70’s, GT 40’s etc, but the sight (and sound) of the ex Ickx/Giunti Ferrari 512 really took my breath away!

Formula 2 machinery was also in attendance and boy could they move on track – their speed was unbelievable and the sound of their engines; Wow! – I was catapulted right back to the Thruxton battles of the late 70’s early eighties!

Kevin Wheatcroft also demonstrated one of his replica W125’s out on track.  Using the original Auto Union drawings, Kevin and his team have built five of these machines.  The attention to detail and overall finish was clearly evident on all aspects of the car.  Until I noticed the absence of the Auto Union badge I believed I could have been standing beside the real thing and on the track well, it sounded absolutely awesome!

This was my first time to attend a historic race meeting, and although it was a brief affair I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.  Next one up is the Silverstone Classic in July – so can’t wait for that.  In the meantime, a final thought;- aside from the cars on track, the paddock was full of other mouthwatering machinery (parked beside motorhomes the size of small hotels!) and in particular two road cars caught my eye; the Alfa Romeo 8C and the Porsche Carrera GT.  Both cars represent opposite ends of the motor sport spectrum, with the thick end of nearly a century in between.  While the Alfa was attracting plenty of onlookers, the Porsche on the other hand was pretty much being ignored – ironic really.  I wonder will the prospect of seeing a Carrera GT being driven on track have fans flocking in their droves in 80 years time to witness it? Cheers,




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