Do you live, eat, and breathe classic cars, especially those from Europe? If you haven't heard of the Donington Historic Festival, you're about to be in for the treat of a lifetime.
Europeans, in general, love to celebrate their rich automotive history. After all, it's where the automobile was born and first took to the streets. Britain quickly took to the car scene, including holding races in venues throughout the island nation. One way people in the country, and from all over Europe, celebrate this heritage is through this annual festival. The fame of this event has only been increasing with each passing year as it continues to grow in size and influence.
Quite a few racers head to the Donington Historic Festival each year, which is usually held in the late spring. They also come with a classic car or motorcycle, because that's what organizers allow to race. As you can imagine, this is quite the treat for anyone who likes old cars. Even better, spectators show up with their classic rides as well.
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Donington Park is located in Castle Donington, which is situated in Derby. If you're not aware, that's in England.
Any and all spectators can enter the paddock without paying a thing, which means seeing your favorite cars and drivers is within your budget.
Car clubs can register for space in the infield, allowing members to display their vehicles for all to ogle.
Racers compete in different classes, representing vehicles from the 1920s all the way to the 2000s, making for quite the spectacle.
One of the fan favorites, the Mad Jack race might not be the fastest, but it certainly comes packed with loads of history.
The crowd really enjoys seeing the Group B cars hit the track, commemorating when Donnington Park was an RAC Rally stage and Group B races were held there.
Each year, vintage airplanes do flyovers at the festival, treating visitors to a fun and unique sight in the sky.
Formula One car demonstrations are held on the track during the festival and the cars are put on display for people to walk around, all in commemoration of when Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill, and Alain Prost battled it out on the same track.
Garage 39 was part of several new changes for the venue, that were opened just in time for the festival in 2018.
If you show up in your classic car, you get to park in this special area located in the infield, making it part of the festivities.
Qualifying takes place all day, followed by two days packed with racing for all classes, making for plenty of excitement.
Only guide dogs are allowed at the event, so nothing in the festival centers on animals.
With hundreds of classic cars on display for people to walk among and look at, it really is like an open-air museum display of fully-functioning vehicles.
The touring cars featured in this invite-only race include classics from around Europe, like Volvo Amazons and Austin A35s.
Within this relatively short period of time, the festival has become a magnet for historic racing in the UK and Europe in general, with its fame spreading quickly.
This is a really wide range of cars, considering everything from Ford Mustangs to Mini Coopers line up and compete against each other, creating plenty of interesting matchups.
Not only do the cars need to have been built before 1991, they're also all British or European, and, of course, are tourers.
The various car clubs will parade their vehicles around the track, creating quite the spectacle for visitors to admire when there's no racing.
Perhaps the most popular of the cars in this race is the Ford Lotus Cortina, which competes against vehicles like the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA and BMW 1800 TISA.
Organizers actually encourage car clubs to set up displays with flags, banners, marquees, etc. to make more of a spectacle in the track's infield.
While the GT cars need to be built before 1966, sports-racing cars must be built before 1963, matching what was used in the World Endurance Championship from back in the day.
More specifically, the cars must be 1967 to 1979 Formula 5000 and Formula 2 single-seaters.
It was motorcycle racer Fred Craner who convinced the owners of the estate to use the existing roads for motorsport races, giving birth to the new track.
Only purpose-built sports-racers that are from before 1961 can compete for the same cup Stirling Moss won in the 1955 British GP.
The British Ministry of Defence used the track as a military vehicle depot throughout the war.
This new loop was constructed to increase the overall length of the track, making it possible to host Grand Prix motorcycle events.
The Trade Village is always a fixture of the event, allowing people to buy clothing, model cars, books, art, photos, and car items of all types.
Opened in 1973 by Tom Wheatcroft, who brought the track back into use for motorsports, the museum has the largest collection of Grand Prix cars anywhere.
Of course, the different events have their own set of restrictions, but there are events for cars and motorcycles, so fans of both can enjoy the festival.
Donington Park was part of the Donington Hall estate, which today includes 1,100 acres in Castle Donington.
People involved in classic car racing are well aware of this event, because it has a reputation for being the premier 1950's competitive race.
This competition includes Super Touring Cars from the 1990s vehicles and Group A cars from before 1990, like the Honda Accord and Peugeot 406.
You can rent camping spots at the Farmhouse, which is right across the street from the track, but it's managed by another group.
Donington Park isn't a park like what you find in a neighborhood, but instead is a racing circuit, so all the fun is sticking a turn just right.
Jaguars from before 1966 compete in the Jaguar Classic Challenge, showing off the proud heritage of the brand.