‘LIVING MOTORSPORT MUSEUM’ TAKES TO THE TRACK

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BMW 3.0 CSL

BMW 3.0 CSL

An early April test day, in advance of the Donington Historic Festival, dramatically illustrated the fantastic spectacle which awaits visitors to the Festival later this month (30 April – 1 May). With full grids, close and exciting racing, and a diverse collection of over 300 historic racing cars stretching across six decades, the Donington Historic Festival will present a ‘living motorsport museum’ at one of Britain’s greatest race circuits. While the engine notes of pre-War racing cars took onlookers back in time to the earliest glory days of Donington, it was the sight (and sound!) of a spectacular selection of Group C Le Mans cars that was perhaps the test day’s greatest visual delight. Group C Racing is expecting a phenomenal grid of more than 25 of these incredible, predominantly 1980s race cars at the Festival – and the sight of such an assortment oftop-level sportscars jockeying for position along the Dunlop Straight should prove spine-tingling. The wide range of marques represented is likely to include Porsche, Jaguar, Spice and Mercedes, plus Aston Martin, Nissan, Tiga and Courage. But if single-seaters, sleek GTs or sportscars, or ‘family’ touring cars are more your style, Donington will still be the place to be on 30 April and 1 May – there’s something for everyone; even rally fans! Touring cars are always hugely popular, as highly tuned, race-prepared versions of the cars many of us remember from the roads and driveways of our youth head out to ‘play’ on the track. Donington Park has been the scene of some memorable Touring Car races over the years, and the Festival pays tribute by staging two races packed with the types of machine that graced the race circuits decades ago. The Historic Motor Racing News U2TC (under 2-litre Touring Cars) features cars that would have been found on 1963-1965 grids, such as Lotus Cortina and BMW 1800Ti, while the new JD Classics Challenge – just launched by Motor Racing Legends – showcases Groups 1 and 2 and Group A Touring Cars, such as those raced in the British and European Touring Car Championships between 1972 and 1985. This was the era of TWR XJ-S and BMW 528, of Alfa GTV6, Audi Coupé and Ford Sierra XR4i, piloted in their day by such stars as Win Percy and Andy Rouse. Before that came the likes of Triumph Dolomite Sprint, BMW 3.0 CSL and Jaguar XJ 12C – not forgetting the evergreen Ford Capri. The latest highlight announced for the event is the ‘Mad Jack’ – named in honour of Richard ‘Mad Jack’ Shuttleworth, winner of the first ever Donington Grand Prix, in 1935. The race is for the most dramatic and entertaining sportscars from the pre-War era, such as huge, powerful 8-litre Bentleys, Type 35 Bugattis and Alfa 8C Monzas, along with a full array of pre-War models from such marques as Aston Martin and BMW, through to Talbot and Frazer Nash. The Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy, supported by EFG Private Bank, is for genuine sports-racers of the post-War era, up to and including December 1955 – such evocative machinery as Jaguar D-types and C-types, Aston Martin DB3s and Austin-Healey 100Ms. The feature race on the Saturday evening of the Festival will be a 250km, two-driver endurance race for sports prototypes of the type that competed in the World Endurance Championships pre-1972. This is the first ever round of a new series – launched by Carol Spagg and Jason Wright – a 1000km challenge comprising four, individual 250km races spread across the year, each held at a top-level event. Donington is the first and the grid is likely to include Ford GT40s, Lola T70s, Porsche 910s and B8 and B16 Chevrons. Single-seater fans won’t feel left out. Organised by the HSCC, the Historic Formula 2 Trophy, for cars from the Formula 2 era 1967 – 1978, attracts entrants from across Europe and beyond. There’s also the FIA Lurani Trophy (for Formula Junior cars from 1958 to 1963), celebrating the brainchild of Italian Count 'Johnny' Lurani who devised the Formula that replaced the motorcycle-engined 500cc F3 cars as the stepping-stone to Formula 1. Another dramatic spectacle will be the race for genuine, original and historic pre-’63 GT cars. Since this series began in 2009, it has attracted such entries as SWB Ferraris, DB4GT Astons (even a genuine pre-’63 Project car), AC Aces, MGA Twin-Cams, a Sebring TR3, along with SZ Alfas, Lotus Elites, E-types and Morgans – all to genuine pre-1963 specification. Meanwhile, the Stirling Moss Trophy, supported by JD Classics, builds on Motor Racing Legends’ ethos of inviting only genuine cars built to period specification, with an expectation of driving standards that are ‘gentlemanly’ as well as highly competitive. Open to genuine, pre-1961 sportscars and sports-racers, it attracts stunning entries including ‘Birdcage’ Maserati T61, the 1959 Le Mans-winning Aston Martin DBR1 and plenty of Listers. The rally cars are back! The Donington Historic Festival will also be notable for the return of the legendary Group B rally cars on a specially designed, all-Tarmac stage. A line-up of original works rally warriors will be put into action by the ‘Rallying with Group B’ club members, reviving the fire and fury of these spectacular machines – cars such as Audi quattro, MG Metro 6R4, Ford RS200, Lancia 037, Porsche 911 RSR, Peugeot 205 T16 – and even an example of the exotic Group B Ferrari 308 GTB. A fantastic – and affordable – weekend There will be free paddock access, allowing everyone to get up close to all the outstanding racing machines, plus historic karts, autojumble and memorabilia stalls, cafés, bars and food outlets. And the Festival has caught the imagination of enthusiasts, with car clubs of all shapes and sizes gathering together in the infield with what should be a fine display of classic vehicles.Tags:,