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Donington Park’s 3 Best Kept Secrets
Is Donington back on its feet again?
If we were putting together the ultimate Petrolhead Pilgrimage list, then surely Donington Park would have to feature prominently.
As Britain’s oldest racing circuit that’s still in use, Donington Park Race Circuit has seen its fair share of high-octane action. After all, this is home to Ayrton Senna’s legendary ‘lap of the gods’, still heralded as the greatest opening lap in Formula 1 history.
However, few realise there’s plenty more to Donington than just its historic circuit. So if you’re planning your very own trip to this motorsport landmark, check out these three little known facts that will help you get the most out of your Donington Park experience.
THE Wheatcroft F1 & WWII COLLECTIONS
If you’re mad for motorsport, then you must make it a point to visit Donington’s F1 museum. This is quite simply the largest collection of Grand Prix cars … cue Clarkson voice … in the world. Across a staggering 130 exhibits, you can relive over a century of motorsports history. There are legendary cars aplenty on display, many having been driven to white-knuckle extremes by such racing Hall of Famers as Senna, Prost, Hakkinen, Mansell and others.
No other museum boasts as many Williams and McLaren F1 cars all assembled under one roof. And if vintage vehicles are your thing, then you’re going to adore the museum’s complete set of rare Vanwall F1 cars.
Continuing on the theme of period pieces, the museum’s WWII Military Collection is another wonder to behold. This renowned exhibition honours Donington Park’s ties with the Ministry of Defence and features a formidable convoy of military tanks and armoured vehicles, including six of only twelve known-to-exist Harley Davidson XAs.
FORMULA E HQ
If the Wheatcroft Collection is a monument to Donington’s glorious past, then the recently added Formula E HQ is very much the vision for the park’s future.
Formula E is a relatively new FIA city-circuit motorsport championship that features single-seater cars. So far, so familiar. But the twist here is that these speed machines are powered exclusively by electric energy. With e-cars slowly becoming a motor industry mainstay, it makes sense that the FIA would embrace this technology and create a new spin on competitive motorsports.
Completed in 2014, the Formula E HQ is located in Donington’s western paddock and was initially home to all ten of the championship’s teams. In these premises, the teams have access to state-of-the-art facilities, with the added advantage of being able to drive cars out of the garages straight onto the circuit for testing.
As the championship continues to gain popularity and expand, some teams have recently flown the Donington coop to relocate to their European race bases. That said, Donington Park will forever remain the spiritual home for the first generation of Formula E.
AUTOXOTICA SUPERCAR CLUB
The AutoXotica Supercar Club is arguably Donington’s best kept secret. A membership with this supercharged club is like having a treasure trove of the finest supercars ready at your disposal.
The club boasts quite an impressive fleet and features such beauties as a Ferrari 458 Spider, an Aston Martin Vanquish, and even a Lamborghini Huracán Spyder. So, whether you wish to cruise some of the UK’s more scenic routes or you’re planning a grand tour of Europe’s finest roads, you’re bound to find the perfect car for the occasion.
Plus, AX offers plenty more members-only perks, including free access to the VIP mezzanine bar and lounge, The Pit Stop, and the aforementioned WWII and F1 museums.
All things considered, AX Supercars really seem to have delivered on their promise to make luxury sports cars easily accessible to anyone with a need for stylish speed. If you love supercars, then be sure to check out AutoXotica.
For maximum motoring merrymaking, why not visit Donington on one of its regular track days? Drive up to the park, take your car for a few laps around a world-famous circuit, then you have the rest of the afternoon to enjoy everything else on offer. From motorsport events such as the BTCC and the British Superbike Championship to supercar clubs, Donington is where great days out come to life.
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