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Donington Historic Festival gets hearts racing

Posted on 11 May 2017

The 7th Donington Historic Festival took place over the May bank holiday weekend, welcoming over 20,000 visitors to the glorious Derbyshire circuit. Featuring nineteen races and world-class racing between over four hundred cars, the event was packed full of on-track entertainment.

Off-track was no different, with an area of the circuit transformed into a rich mixture of petrol-fuelled attractions. On show was stunt driving with free-styling legend Paul Swift and the opportunity to watch live demonstrations from iconic Group B rally cars.

Swift, best known for his work designing the Top Gear live shows, gave stunt driving lessons to spectators, getting people in the driver’s seat to have a go themselves. Swift also performed a live action show, the ‘Britalian Job’, that featured three Minis, fireworks and impressive demonstrations of J-turning.

Rallying with Group B also brought some famous Group B rally cars to play on a purpose-built stage. Considered by many to be the most fearsome rally cars ever built, displays from an Audi Quattro, Opel Manta 400 and a 205 T16 Evo delivered a sensory-overload as they took to the course.

The format for the Donington Historic Festival was changed for the 2017 event, with qualifying taking place on Friday, leaving both Saturday and Sunday packed full of racing. The Historic Touring Car Challenge (HTCC) was on Saturday with the grid full of both past and present British touring car protagonists, including Mat Jackson, Patrick Watts, Nick Whale and Adam Morgan. The grid fought it out over 45 laps with the one of the greatest all-round British drivers, Steve Soper, claiming the top spot at the podium alongside team-mate Chris Ward in the TWR Bastos Rover Vitesse SD1. 

On Sunday, the Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy for Pre-’56 Sportscars took place featuring 30 competitors including an Aston Martin DB3S and a 1954 Talbot Lago T26. Winning the race was the Cooper T38 driven by British duo Fredrick Wakeman and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards, owner of Blakeney Motorsport – an internationally-recognised race preparation business based in Hertfordshire.  

Richard Grafton, commercial director of Historic Promotions – which organises Donington Historic Festival – commented: “Our race meeting at the iconic Donington Park combines the best of historic racing cars and accomplished drivers, with a relaxed atmosphere and great views of the circuit.

“Exhilarating off-track entertainment, an infield full of car club displays and the chance to get up close to the cars in the paddock all combined to create an unforgettable race weekend. Those looking forward to the 2018 event can be confident that we will continue to build upon the event’s success.”

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