Donington Park Circuit: The Complete Visitor’s Guide

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

Donington Park Circuit sign

Donington Park Circuit is one of the most prestigious and popular in the UK. It hosts the biggest car and motorbike racing series in the UK, and is a very popular choice for trackday drivers.

If you are heading to Donington Park as a competitor, spectator or trackday driver this guide is for you. It contains all the information you need to know in advance of your visit to make sure you have the best experience possible at one of the UK’s premier circuits.

Contents

what race events are held at Donington Park?

In 1993, for one year only, Donington Park also hosted a round of the Formula 1 world championship. This was the year when Ayrton Senna performed one of the most incredible single laps of racing ever, in what is now known as the lap of the gods.

Now, Donington Park hosts some of the biggest race series in the country. It has hosted the British Touring Car Championship for decades, the British Superbike and World Superbike Championships for a number of years.

Tickets for all Donington Park events can be purchased directly from the MSV website.

Some of the headline events held at Donington Park are as follows:

  • British Touring Car Championship
  • Masters Historic Festival
  • British Superbike Championship
  • British GT Championship
  • World Superbike Championship
  • TCR UK Championship
  • Britcar Endurance Championship

the circuit

Donington Park circuit has two main configurations, the National circuit and the Grand Prix circuit. Both are used for different race events and are a different length.

It also has some of the most daunting corners of any circuit in the country, that are a thrill to both drive and watch. Craner Curves in particular is renowned for being ones of the most gutsy corners in the country, and is a hard corner to master. But like most corners on the circuit, get it right and it will be incredibly rewarding.

Whilst lap timing isn’t allowed on normal track days, it is during test days and race events. If you are heading there to compete, you’ll want to get an idea of some of the fastest laptimes so you have something to aim for when you’re on track.

Donington grand prix layout map

getting to Donington Park

Donington is the most centrally located circuit in the UK, right next to East Midlands airport and easily accessible from nearby motorways.

Getting in to the circuit itself can be a little more tricky as there are a couple of different entrances that are used for different occasions.

Additionally, parking at the circuit on big race weekends can be difficult and queues to enter or leave the track can be long, but can be avoided.

Donington Park main entrance sign

staying at Donington Park

If you are either competing or spectating for a full race weekend, you will probably need somewhere to stay. There are countless nearby hotels that give fairly easy access to the circuit, but these do get booked up well in advance for the bigger race series so take that in to consideration. The race calendars are usually realeased at the end of the previous year, so keep your eye out and be quick off the mark to make sure you get a place booked.

Alternatively you may be interested in camping. There are two campsites within the grounds of the circuit itself, one of which even has front-row views from your camping pitch. Additionally there are a number of nearby campsites nearby, the closest of which has direct walking access to the paddock, meaning you can avoid the traffic jams.

spectating at Donington Park circuit

If you are heading to Donington as a spectator, it’s likely you’ll want to find the best viewpoint possible to watch the action from. There are two grandstands available for seating, only one of which is covered from the elements. Some of the best places to watch from, however, do not have any fixed seating at all.

As with spectating at any circuit, be prepared to put the steps in. Bring your camping chairs, walking boots and brolley, but the reward is being front row for some spectacular racing action.

Donington wheatcroft grandstand view

food and drink at Donington Park

If you are going to Donington as a driver, competitor or spectator, it’s likely that you will want something to eat and drink on the day. The frugally minded might want to pack their own lunch, but for other there’s Garage 39 cafe, bar and restaurant in the pits and paddock. This newly-refubished venue is a lovely place to sit and eat but it serves pretty standard race-day food.

Alternatively, on busy race events there will be other food vans dotted around the various spectator areas.

Garage 39 cafe and restaurant

Donington trackdays

Donington Park circuit is a favourite for trackday drivers, with its challenging corners and easily accessible location. Trackdays here can be in different formats; either full days or evening-only sessions in the summer.

Donington also has one of the strictest noise limits for any track day circuit in the country, which you need to be aware of before you head there as it can ruin your day if you exceed it. Plus you need to know what the pit garages are like, where can you get petrol, whether there’s anywhere to get food on the day and a bunch of other things before you head out.

Donington Park pit garage

Donington testing

If you are competing in a race series and need to hone your car (or bike’s) performance, a test day is probably more appropriate. These allow overtaking either side, often have higher noise limits and allow lap timing. They are much more suited to motorsport competitors and race teams than track days are.

 

Donington park testing

Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport travel guides based on my experience as racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

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