Donington Park claims a sizeable portion of Britain's motor racing heritage, being the country's first true road circuit to be built and the oldest still in current usage. From the classic Grands Prix of the 1930s through to the modern era, the East Midlands venue has posed a popular challenge for riders and drivers.
It is a physically demanding circuit and with sections such as the Craner Curves, it proves a challenge for the tyres too. The blind right of Coppice is another difficult corner to navigate but it can shave seconds off lap times if the drivers get it just right.
The circuit was scheduled to be extensively redeveloped in an attempt to lure Formula 1 away from Silverstone. Hermann Tilke was brought in to develop the new circuit masterplan which included an entirely new pit complex along Starkey's Straight and increasing the circuit length to 2.944 miles (4.738km), by the addition of a new infield loop. The layout included two circuit variations which could be run simultaneously and a national course similar to the original 1977 circuit.
Initial groundworks began at the end of the 2009 season. This included the demolition of the iconic Dunlop Bridge and the creation of a new access tunnel between McLeans and Coppice. Unfortunately on 24 October 2009, media sources reported that Donington Ventures Leisure had failed to raise the £135 million needed to stage a British Grand Prix and by November the company went into administration.
In May 2010 repair work began on the track to allow it to return to operation as the incomplete work to bring the track up to F1 standards had rendered it unusable. These repairs continued throughout 2010, meaning that almost a full season of racing activity had been lost. During these renovations, the opportunity was taken to modify the chicane on the National Circuit, moving it further from Goddards corner to provide greater run-off. The Foggy Esses were also realigned, with a faster exit created.
The circuit did return to full operation under new management in 2011.
In January 2014, the FIA Formula E Championship announced it was building its headquarters and team workshops at the circuit, in a new building in the western paddack, adjacent to the entry to the Melbourne Hairpin. The series will also use Donington Park circuit for testing and development work on the fully-electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E race car. Further developments on the site are expected in the future.
We've teamed with Cosworth Electronics to provide a reference trace file for Donington Park, using F3-type data (or the closest representative car type).
A data outing is available to download for each of the major circuit variations. Fine tune your own setup before you even set off for the circuit!
You'll need Cosworth's Pi Toolbox or similar data analysis software to open these files.
Address: Donington Park, Castle Donington, Derby, DE74 2RP, England
PH: +44 1332 810048
Circuit type: Permanent road course
Donington Park is a well equipped venue, and there are a number of suppliers on site though not at the same level as Silvestone or Brands Hatch.
The Formula E industrial park is currently fully occupied but futher units are expected to be built in future.
The circuit is very close to both East Midlands Parkway railway station and East Midlands Airport and is directly under the flight path of the latter. However there is no direct public transport link between the two.
On site catering is available at the track and is of a reasonable (typical UK circuit) standard. Local pubs also offer good food.
There are a number of hotels clustered around the airport which are highly convienient for the circuit, however these become fully booked very quickly around major events, including some of the larger series test days (BTCC, Formula E) and large scale events, early booking is advised.
There are many poor-average standard towns in the areas around the track, most of them are at least 15-20 minute drive from the paddock.
Donington Park is located in central England, near to Castle Donington in Leciestershire. The nearest airport in East Midlands Airport, which is adjacent to the eastern end of the circuit and a short drive away. It offers flights to a range of International and European destinations.
Access the circuit by car is along the A453, a short distance from both the M1 and A42/M42 motorways. The nearest train station to Donington Park is East Midlands Parkway, offering connections to London and the north.