It was worth the effort…
When Donington Park’s name originally appeared, somewhat unexpectedly, on the Grand Prix calendar, there were those who expressed reservations. Some of the doubters spoke from previous experience of the East Midlands circuit. Others were jumping, unreasonably, and without the benefit of prior knowledge, on the critics’ bandwagon.
In the event, Tom Wheatcroft’s first Grand Prix ran as well as he, or anyone else, could have anticipated. In an age when top-level motor racing is all too often criticised for its antiseptic atmosphere, the enthusiasm of the Donington organisers filtered through to competitors and spectators alike. As this is written, we have yet to receive a single complaint about the weekend from the public, and we know from past post-GP correspondence that this is an achievement in itself. Maybe the modest crowd (over the course of three days, 75,000 came through the gates, 50,000 of them on raceday: last year’s British GP at Silverstone drew 200,000 and 110,000 respectively) made viewing more comfortable, though the monsoon conditions which are an inevitable seasonal hazard of springtime Britain certainly didn’t.
For weeks before the race, local radio stations had hollered warnings about impending traffic chaos on a scale hitherto unseen in the locality. As it transpired, access to the circuit was straightforward, and any delays getting out owed more to the depth of mud in the car parks than the volume of traffic.
The Grand Prix of Europe turned out to be an enjoyable event, which fully vindicated Tom Wheatcroft’s long fight to stage such a race. Of course, it isn’t the first time that Britain has shared the traditional Franco-Italian privilege of staging two World Championship Grands Prix in the course of a season. Having taken note of the many positive aspects of the Donington weekend, we sincerely hope it won’t be the last. S A
Recently, we have made a few changes to Motor Sport. Judging by readers’ reactions, these have been well received. Last month, we recorded an encouraging 10 per cent increase in overall sales.
Our future intention is to broaden the magazine’s appeal even further. In June, for instance, we will be introducing a monthly column from our American correspondent, offering a detailed perspective of all topical Stateside racing issues.
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