Donington Park’s journey back to respectability following the failure of its F1 dream took a giant step forward this week with the confirmation of several racing dates for this season.
Owner Kevin Wheatcroft recently said he hoped to have the circuit back in action by summer – and now several racing series including the BTCC have either had their proposed dates confirmed or new ones guaranteed.
Masters Historic Racing, which was due to compete at the circuit on June 26-27, said in a statement it would instead be visiting for a “grand re-opening race meeting” on September 3-5.
Other dates understood to have been confirmed are the BTCC on September 18-19 and October meetings for British GT and Britcar.
And, posting on the Save Donington Facebook group, Simon Smith of the Classic Racing Motorcycle Club wrote: “Donington have confirmed our race dates 13th, 14th and 15th August.”
Masters Historic Racing said it was “delighted to announce that the reason for this delay is to permit the track refurbishment works, which are even now getting underway at the famed Leicestershire circuit, to be completed”.
Circuit owner Kevin Wheatcroft, who looks set to begin the task of refurbishing the venue without so far having been able to announce a new leaseholder, said: “The plans to re-open the new improved Donington Park are progressing well.
“We are confident that the new race track can be re-opened for testing, subject to obtaining the necessary licences, during August 2010 and we will be hosting the Masters Historic Festival on the first weekend of September.”
Masters Historic Racing founder Ron Maydon added: “We are all very proud to be the first organisation invited to hold not just ‘a race meeting’, but to help organise and promote the actual grand celebration which sees racing return to the much loved circuit – thanks to all at Donington and roll on September.”
Lee Coombs, organiser of the Save Donington campaign, and other supporters are now using Facebook to spread the word about the celebration in the hope of making it as successful as the initial fans’ rally in March.
This event, designed to demonstrate support for the beleaguered circuit, attracted thousands of attendees and raised £8500.
According to a report in Motorsport News, work will begin on June 15 with the aim of conducting testing on August 1. Meetings can only take place if a track licence is issued by the sport’s governing body, the MSA.
Unsurprisingly, the ambitious extra section that would have been needed if the Formula One British Grand Prix bid had succeeded is not part of the planned work – which will also not at first include the Melbourne Loop, being restricted to returning the national circuit to use.