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Flag of the United Kingdom Donington Park
Circuit Layout
Donington Layout
Circuit Details
Name Donington Park
Location Flag of the United Kingdom Leicestershire, England
Length 4.020km (2.498mi)
Corners 12
First Race 2014 Donington Test
Circuit Records
Fastest Lap Qualifying Wins
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 Donington Park is a British racing circuit, found in Leicestershire, England.[1] The purpose built circuit was founded in 1931, and serves as the main base of operations for the FIA Formula E Championship, with all of the series' shipping going through via the circuit.[1][2]

Donington Park would also serve as the main testing base for Formula E during the first three seasons, hosting public tests before each season. However, pressure from the teams during the 2016/17 saw Donington replaced by the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, which could be modified to better reflect a street circuit.[3]

HistoryEdit

Donington Park was originally founded in 1931, costing £12,000 to complete and hosting its first event on Whit Monday that year.[1] The "Donington Grand Prix" became a popular fixture in the pre-war racing calendar, but the circuit closed in 1939 due to the Second World War.[1] The Ministry of Defence took over the circuit, converting it into a storage facility for their equipment, holding onto the circuit until the 1960s.[1] In that time, Donington Park lay largely forgotten, crumbling into history.

Wheatcroft's WonderEdit

Local businessman and car fanatic Tom Wheatcroft then managed, in 1971, to buy the circuit from the M.O.D., beginning a six year rebuilding project.[1] Modified to resemble its more familiar modern shape, the first post-war race was held for motorcycles on the 28th of May 1977, with racing cars returning to the circuit later that year.[1] The welcome return of track action was aided by the Donington Grand Prix Exhibition, officially the largest collection of Grand Prix cars in existence (and opened by Wheatcroft, at the circuit, in 1973).[1]

1985 saw the circuit length increased to 2.5mi with the addition of the 'Melbourne Loop' at the end of the circuit, allowing Donington to host Grand Prix level Motorcycle competitions.[1] With the BTCC and British SuperBike championships becoming increasingly popular fixtures on the circuit calendar, the Wheatcroft family attempted to get a Grand Prix for the circuit.[1] Their chance came in 1993, when Donington hosted the 1993 European Grand Prix, won by Formula One legend Ayrton Senna.[1]

After its brief moment in the sun, Donington returned to its usual run of national and international level motorsport, with the BTCC in particular its most well supported event.[1] The 2000s saw the DTM and Le Mans Series use the circuit's facilities, reigniting hopes of a revival of a Donington Grand Prix once more.[1]

DVL DisasterEdit

Donington Venture Leisure bought a 150 year lease to use the circuit from the Wheatcroft family in 2006, hoping to use a variety of funding projects to obtain the British Grand Prix.[1] In 2008, an agreement was signed that stated that Donington would host the race from 2010 tor the next seventeen years, once the circuit's facilities had been updated.[1] The rebuild began in 2009, although there was to be turmoil in the months that followed.[1]

With the circuit unable to host any motorsport events in 2009, DVL ltd. began losing money, failing to pay their rent on the circuit, prompting the Wheatcroft's to sue the group over the lease.[1] Although the two later settled out of court, the potential upset meant that work on the circuit was delayed, and the British Grand Prix handed back to Silverstone (at one point having been threatened to be removed entirely).[1]

Smoother TimesEdit

DVL's failure saw the company fold, handing the lease back to the Wheatcroft family, the catalyst for the change being the loss of the BSB Championship at the end of 2009.[1] The lease was sold to the Adroit Group in 2010, who took over the work of reviving the circuit, hoping to reopen it by August.[1] The rebuild was successful, with Donington's current layout being granted all the licenses it had held formerly, although the Adroit Group failed to accept the contract offered to them.[1]

With the Wheatcroft's now back at the helm, Donington successfully re-obtained the BTCC for 2011, and gained the WTCC as well.[1] The circuit also played host to the British GT Championship and Historic championships of various natures from 2011.[1]

Formula E HistoryEdit

The FIA and Formula E Holdings first announced that Donington Park would become the home of Formula E on the 23rd of January 2014, building a 44,000ft paddock area specifically for the series.[2] The facilities remain in construction as of April 2015, although the circuit itself did successfully host the 2014 Donington Test over July and August 2014, the official pre-season test before the inaugural 2014/15 Formula E Season.[4] Sébastien Buemi set the fastest time of the the test at 1:31.083.[5]

Testing the Test VenueEdit

It was later announced on the 20th of March, 2015, that Donington Park would host the 2015 Donington Test in the summer of 2015, which will serve as the only pre-season test for the 2015/16 Formula E Season.[6] The test saw Renault e.Dams and ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport dominate the test, with Sébastien Buemi completing the furthest distance, and Lucas di Grassi completing the fastest lap.[7]

Donington Park returned to host the pre-season test for the 2016/17 season, amid rumours that the venue would be replaced for 2017/18.[8] The times would plummet once again in the summer of 2016, with Buemi setting the ultimate pace with a 1:28.910 on the final day.[9] Others to impress were Jean-Éric Vergne and debutante Felix Rosenqvist, with the entire field separated by just 1.445 seconds on the final day.[9]

However, the 2016 Test would be the final time that Donington host FE testing publicly, for pressure from the teams forced the FIA to choose the Circuit Ricardo Tormo for the 2017/18 pre-season Test.[3] The teams desired to use a course which better reflected a street circuit, and while Donington had all of the facilities an FE effort could want, it was easier, and more efficient, for the European based teams to travel to Valencia than it was to Donington.[3] Donington Park would remain as the series' HQ, with all of the logistical concerns processed through the circuit.

Circuit LayoutEdit

RecordsEdit

A full list of records for the Circuit Ricardo Tormo are outlined below:

Circuit RecordsEdit

Below is a list of all of the circuit records set at the Donington Park:

Donington Park Circuit Records
Season Test Layout Date Driver Time Report
2014/15 2014 Donington Test Grand Prix Circuit 3rd-4th July 2014
9th-10th July 2014
19th August 2014
Switzerland Sébastien Buemi 1:31.083[5] Report
2015/16 2015 Donington Test Grand Prix Circuit 10th-12th August 2015
23rd-25th August 2015
Brazil Lucas di Grassi 1:29.920[7] Report
2016/17 2016 Donington Test Grand Prix Circuit 25th-27th August 2016
5th-7th September 2016
Switzerland Sébastien Buemi 1:28.910[9] Report

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 'Donington Park', wikipedia.org, (08/04/2015), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donington_Park, (Accessed 23/04/2015)
  2. 2.0 2.1 'Formula-e to build new headquarters at Donington Park', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 23/01/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/january/formula-e-to-build-new-headquarters-at-donington-park.aspx, (Accessed 23/04/2015)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 'Valencia pre-season test dates confirmed', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 11/09/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/september/valencia-pre-season-test-dates-confirmed/, (Accessed 11/09/2017)
  4. 'INSIGHT: Formula E pre-season testing', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 11/07/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/july/insight-formula-e-pre-season-testing.aspx, (Accessed 23/04/2015)
  5. 5.0 5.1 'Buemi quickest on penultimate day', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 10/07/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/july/sebastien-buemi-quickest-on-penultimate-day-of-testing.aspx (Accessed 22/04/2015)
  6. 'Season two test dates revealed', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 20/03/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/march/season-two-test-dates-revealed.aspx, (Accessed 23/04/2015)
  7. 7.0 7.1 'Di Grassi lowers Donington lap record', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 18/08/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/august/di-grassi-lowers-donington-lap-record.aspx, (Accessed 25/08/2015)
  8. Scott Mitchell, 'Formula E's summer 2016 Donington Park testing plan revealed', autosport.com, (HayMarket Media, 03/06/2016), http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/124621, (Accessed 08/07/2016)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 'BUEMI ENDS FINAL TEST ON TOP: RENAULT E.DAMS LEADS THE WAY AS TEAM COMPLETE THE FINAL TEST BEFORE HONG KONG', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 07/09/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/september/buemi-ends-final-test-on-top/, (Accessed 07/09/2016)
Formula E Host Cities
Asia/Africa
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Europe
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North America
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South America
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Flag of the United Kingdom Donington Park Flag of the United Kingdom Spain Circuit Ricardo Tormo Spain

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