Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Donington Park

From Graces Guide
May 1934.

of Castle Donington

Donington Park motor racing circuit was the first permanent park circuit in England, which also ended the race circuit monopoly that Brooklands had held since 1907.

Fred Craner was a former motorcycle rider who had taken part in seven Isle of Man TT races, and was by 1931 a Derby garage owner and secretary of the Derby & District Motor Club. Craner approached the then owner of the Donington Hall estate, Alderman John Gillies Shields JP, to use the extensive roads on his land for racing.

The original track was 2 mile 327 yd in length, and based on normal width unsealed estate roads. The first motor cycle race took place on Whit Monday, 1931.

For 1933 Craner obtained permission to build a permanent track, with the original layout widened and sealed at a cost of £12,000. The first car race was held on the 25th March, followed by three car meetings further that year. The first Donington Park Trophy race was held on 7 October, 1933, and was won by the Earl Howe in a Bugatti Type 51.

In 1935 the first 300-mile (Donington Grand Prix was won by Richard "Mad Jack" Shuttleworth in an Alfa Romeo P3.

In the 1937 Donington Grand Prix and 1938 Donington Grand Prix, the race winners were respectively Bernd Rosemeyer and Tazio Nuvolari, both in Auto Union 'Silver Arrows.'

The circuit at Donington Park was closed in 1939 due to World War II, when it was requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence and was converted into a military vehicle depot.

In 1971 the circuit was bought by business man and car collector Tom Wheatcroft, who funded the rebuilding of the track. Wheatcroft moved his collection to the circuit, in a museum now known as the Donington Grand Prix Exhibition which opened in 1973, and has the largest collection of Grand Prix cars in the world.

The motor racing circuit re-opened on May 27, 1977, the first postwar race meeting was organised by the Nottingham Sports Car Club, but that nearly didn't happen, as the local ramblers tried to assert their rights to retain access to footpaths at the eleventh hour. The meeting went ahead as a "Motor Trial", a legal loophole that curtailed the use of single seater racing cars for that opening meeting. The NSCC continued to run race meetings at Donington until the Donington Racing Club was formed and a licence to run race meetings obtained.


See Also

Loading...

Sources of Information