As one who went to many race meetings at the pre-war Donington Park course, from VSCC events to those two great Donington Park Grands Prix of 1937 and 1938 which attracted really large numbers of spectators to a British motor race for the first time ever, when Rosemeyer won the first, Nuvolari the second, both in Auto-Unions, may I add my congratulations to Tom Wheatcroft on at last getting an F1 GP to the historic circuit he rebuilt so effectively after the war? (Some of my memories of those old races will be found in the Grenville MOTOR SPORT Book of Donington.)
I hope that over the Easter weekend the crowds will flock to the historic venue near Derby for the European Grand Prix and support the enthusiastic Tom Wheatcroft to the full. The Donington facilities are well-suited for hosting such an important race, which should be a foretaste of what the later 1993 British Grand Prix should have to offer.
Donington, in the old Derby & District M C days under Fred Craner, was the scene of a great many leading races, such as the original Donington GP won by Dick Shuttleworth’s Alfa Romeo in 1935, the Formula Libre Donington Park Trophy races which Earl Howe cleaned up in 1933 in his Bugatti, the ERA dominated Nuffield Trophy contests that ran from 1934 to 1939, the JCC 200-Mile races, the British Empire Trophy series, and long distance sportscar races like the TT and the 12-Hours, etc.
It was a road-type course quite unique to this country when it was opened in 1933, and its fixtures were a fine mix of club racing and the full-scale stuff. I recall that right at the end of the pre-war period, at the VSCC races, Reg Parnell won two of them in the big BHW, over what was then the “manufacturers” circuit, and Clive Windsor-Richards was driving well in the Hawthorn 1.8-litre Riley.
The war ruined it all and left the track untenable — until Tom saved it for further racing. So congratulations, salutations, to Mr Wheatcroft for bringing top-class racing back to Donington.
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