The Donington Historic Festival 2018

8 February 2018

Event Report

The eighth Donington Historic Festival (Donington Park, May 4, 5 and 6) was one of the best yet, with the brilliant May bank holiday sunshine presiding over three great days of historic motorsport and bringing the crowds with it. Race action was to DHF’s traditionally high and exhilarating standards, with nineteen races from fourteen grids spanning nine decades of motorsport. Donington Park’s fine circuit looked magnificent in the sunshine, showcasing the fantastic array of marques out on track, including Alfa Romeo, Austin-Healey, Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Chevron, Ferrari, Ford, Jaguar, Lola, Lotus, MG, Morgan, Porsche and TVR.

Famous names were everywhere. ‘The Grand Tour’ test driver Abigail Eaton, battled it out with the Super Tourers in the mighty Holden Commodore, musician Chris Rea was out in his 1957 Morris Minor Panda car – with the appropriate number 999 – and Travis drummer Neil Primrose campaigned an Austin A35 Academy. Another welcome addition to the Festival was the Derek Bell Trophy grid, with chest-rumbling F5000 cars creating an incredible sound that echoed round Donington Park. The racing action wasn’t restricted to the track, with several races requiring driver changes in the pitlane; something made a little more arduous by the extreme heat.

Festival visitors enjoyed free access to the race paddock and pitlane walks, and the pit garages always had something interesting going on, such as the firing up of the wonderfully noisy Lola T330 each day. Donington Park’s Infield was a popular place to be, not because the mature trees gave some welcome shade, but because of the superb array of classic cars brought along by the dozens of car clubs that took part.

Festival visitors enthusiastically embraced the new elements that MSV has introduced to the track over the winter, including the superb new café, bar and restaurant, Garage 39, located right in the heart of the race paddock, and the new loos, which everybody said was a much-welcome improvement! Finally, the skies above Donington Park had a temporary break from the modern-day air traffic from East Midlands Airport and played host to the Spitfire and Dakota of the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

There was plenty of Alfa Romeo interest over the weekend and it was exciting to see the cars in full-bore action in a number of races:

Race 2: Super Touring Car Challenge for 1970-2005 Touring Cars

G Pearson & J Pearson in the Alfa Romeo 156SP finished ninth after qualifying eleventh on the grid

Race 3: Pre-63 GT for pre-63 GT cars

Jones & Barrie in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta SV completed thirty-four of thirty-nine laps from Row 12 of the grid

Race 5: Historic Touring Car Challenge with Tony Dron Trophy

Snowdon & Guest in the Alfa Romeo GTV6 finished fifhteenth from Row 13 of the grid

Paul Clayson in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTv6 finished twenty-first from Row 15 of the grid

Gordon & Meaden in the Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint Veloce withdrew from the race

Race 6: U2TC Trophy for pre-66 under two-litre Touring Cars

A Banks & M Banks in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA finished second after qualifying third on the grid

Harthogs & Nuthall in the Alfa Romeo GTA qualified but withdrew from the race

Race 9: HRDC ‘Touring Greats’ for pre-60 Touring Cars with invited ‘TC63’

Gavin Watson in the Alfa Romeo Guilietta Ti finished eighth after qualifying seventeenth on the grid

Turral & Diffey in the Alfa Romeo Sprint GT finished eleventh from Row 17 of the grid

J Miles & A Miles in the Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint completed twenty-two laps of the twenty-six lap race

L Frankel & A Frankel in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Super were not classified after qualifying twentieth on the grid

Race 12: The Mad-Jack Pre-War Sports Cars

M Halusa & L Halusa in the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spyder finished sixth qualifying on the fifth row of the grid

Race 18: HRDC ‘Coys Trophy’ celebrating the BTCC 1958-1966

Alexander & Fores in the Alfa Romeo Sprint GT finished third after qualifying ninth on the grid

Frankel & MacKenzie in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Super completed twenty-four of the twenty-six lap race 

Jonathan Miles in the Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint completed twenty-two of the twenty-six lap race

R Frankel & A Frankel in the Alfa Romeo GTA qualified but withdrew from the race

Stephen Potts in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Super was allowed to start at the back of the grid

A great event all-round!

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