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Saturday, 13 May 2017

A Day At Donington Historic Festival

I was brought up by parents who love motorsport. I still have toy cars my Dad gave me when I was little and I can remember my parents and I watching the tragic passing of our favourite driver Ayrton Senna. We always watch the F1 and my dad has worked with cars since he was a teenager, nowadays he works on prestigious cars and knows pretty much everything there is to know about them. So it's no surprise that I also have a passion for cars. While I am no expert like my Dad, I still love them.
When I was offered the chance to go to the Donington Historic Festival last month as part of the blogger panel I jumped at the chance. I asked my Dad to go with me and we excitedly planned our day. This was the 7th Donington Historic Festival and there was a great selection of race grids, displays and demonstrations. The on-track action spanned eight decades and the event ran over 3 days, a day of qualifying on the Friday and two full days of racing on the Saturday and Sunday. We attended the Saturday.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of when the circuit was re-opened for racing at Donington Park thanks to the late Tom Wheatcroft. Some of the action-packed weekend included the attendance of 60 car clubs such as Club Lotus, Mazda MX5 Club, Porsche Club GB and Mercedes-Benz Club who displayed the cars they were passionate about. You were able to get up close to the cars and take photos as well as talk to the club representatives and ask questions. On the 'tarmac lake,' there were passenger rides in period rally cars. You could also get involved by learning stunt driving with Paul Swift (more on that later!) as well as demonstration sessions from the British Historic Kart Club. Visitors also had the chance to have a go at drifting a Caterham or get in the passenger seat for a drift ride. You could also take a look at the stunning Donington Grand Prix Collection. The Sporting Bears Motor Club gave visitors 10-mile passenger rides on public roads in the Donington Park area in one of their classic and sports cars in exchange for donations to a charity.
When we got to the Donington Historic Festival we were warmly welcomed up in the media suite. I was quite nervous as this was the first time I was attending something as a blogger, my nerves soon disappeared as we began walking around in awe with the other car enthusiasts.

The first thing we did was to watch the HSCC Super Touring Car Challenge for 1970-2000 Touring Cars. We were close to the track and excitedly watched. After the race, we saw some of the drivers including Touring Car Champion Colin Turkington.

As we walked around the paddocks my Dad was able to tell me lots of information about all the cars we saw. It was great to learn about them. I loved seeing the vast array of cars and how they have changed over the years. There were some really stunning ones. I wish I could include them all in this post. We were among a few of the lucky people who got to photograph Champion Andrew Jordan.

This year the theme at Donington Historic Festival was to get involved. One of the ways you could do that was to volunteer to drive in the Paul Swift stunt cars. (Paul Swift is the man behind the Top Gear Live stunts.) Before the stunt show, two volunteers from the public had a mini stunt experience alongside the professionals. They learned how to J-turn and drift a car through 360 degrees. Then it was over to Paul and the team who showcased some manoeuvres and then they did an Italian Job inspired performance which was both funny and really entertaining.

There were lots of great stalls such as 195 mph Ltd, Second Skin and Millingtons Models among others. And numerous food areas. Something I noticed was how clean the whole site was. There were so many people in attendance but it was kept immaculate. The whole day was so well organised. I saw all ages there and each person was smiling and having a great time.

 We watched the U2TC for Pre-'66 Under Two-litre Touring Cars' race while we stood eating our lunch, probably the most exciting lunch I've ever had! 
Then later we saw the HSCC Historic Formula 2 FIA International Race Series. These single-seater racing cars were so loud and exciting to watch.
We had the most amazing time, there was so much to see. I want to say a MASSIVE thank you for inviting us and giving us a fantastic day. I highly recommend these events, they are so well organised and there is so much to do and see. I can totally understand why some people attend all three days! My parents and I are hoping to go back to the Donington Historic Festival next year. Sorry this blog post is pic heavy but there were too many beautiful cars not to include them!
* I was sent tickets to attend the Donington Historic Festival in exchange for a blog post detailing my day. However, this has not influenced my opinion in any way.

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