Monday, 4 July 2011

Grand Prix City - Donington Park Museum

Donington Park Museum

(Ayrton Senna & Juan Manuel Fangio)

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to drop in to the Donington Park Museum, home to the Donington Park Grand Prix Collection. Donington Park dates back to at least the Doomesday Book compiled in 1086 and is one of the longest established deer parks in the UK.

Auto Union Type D, Donington Park Museum

(1939 Auto Union Type D)

After serving as a Prisoner Of War camp for German officers in World War 1, a race track was built in 1931 for £12,000. The track played host to Grand Prix races featuring the Mercedes and Auto Union 'Silver Arrows' Grand Prix cars, Tazio Nuvolari driving an Auto Union during practice for the 1938 British Grand Prix fatally struck a stray deer.

Trippel SG6, Donington Park Museum

(1942 Trippel SG 6)

During World War 2 Donington Park became home to 50,000 vehicles as the largest military transport depot in Europe. In 1971 local building magnate Tom Wheatcroft took over the Donington Park circuit and 8 years later racing was resumed after a nearly 40 year break. The highlight of the resumption of racing at Donington was almost certainly the 1993 European Grand Prix.

Vanwall VW9, Donington Park Museum

(1958 Vanwall VW9)

Tom Wheatcroft alongside his property developing business had a passion for racing, collecting vehicles associated with the circuits pre war history, vehicles used in WW2, during which Tom served in a tank regiment and British built Grand Prix cars.

March BMW 732, Donington Park Museum

(1973 March BMW 732)

He also sponsored and entered talented drivers, including Derek Bell, Richard Morgan and in particular Roger Williamson whom Wheatcroft financed in Formula 3 and 2 and an ill fated Grand Prix drive in which Roger met his untimely demise in a horrific accident during the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix.

McLaren M15, Donington Park Museum

(1970 McLaren Offy M15)

The Donington Park Museum houses the largest collection of McLaren

Williams FW02, Donington Park Museum

(1973 Williams - Ford FW 02)

and Williams vehicles outside of these two prestigious manufacturers own collections.

Hill GH2, Donington Park Museum

(1975 Hill - Ford GH2)

I spent several memorable hours going round the museum housing a veritable feast of some of the highs and low's of British Grand Prix endeavour. Situated just of the M1 near Nottingham, at just £8 a visit, I'll look forward to dropping in again when the opportunity next presents it's self.

Slightly off topic, wishing all GALPOT readers in the USA and US readers abroad Happy Independence day.

Thanks for dropping today's Donington Park edition of 'Gettin' a lil psycho on tyres' i hope you'll join me again tomorrow for a look an Independence day cruise in the UK. Don't forget to come back now !