Pic Of The Week: Donington's Glory Days

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This week's news that the revitalised Donington is to host an annual historic festival to rival those held at Goodwood, Silverstone and Oulton Park has had us inevitably dreaming about Donny's pre-war days.

Donington Park was only the second purpose-built circuit in the UK, and the first 'parkland' track (Brooklands was more of a 'sspeedway' affair). After a couple of seasons of bike racing, Donington held its first four-wheeled motor race in 1933.

It held its first GP in 1935, which was won by a chap who we have to mention solely because of his fantastic nickname - Richard 'Mad Jack' Shuttleworth in an Alfa Romeo.

Later in the 1930s the crowds at Donington (60,000 spectators came to cheer on Dick Seaman in the 1937 event) also bore witness to some epic battles between the mighty German 'Silver Arrows' of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union, before the track was requisitioned as a military transport base in 1939, destined not to re-open for another forty years.

We reckon this shot of a Mercedes-Benz W125 in full flight is a fitting reminder of Donington's history. We're not sure wheter it's Seaman, Carraciola or Manfred von Brauchitsch at the wheel, but we do know that launching 595bhp's-worth of Mercedes into the air is a feat of damned amazing driving. Oddly, the chap waving the flag doesn't seem so impressed...

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Comments (53) Join the discussion on the forum

  • louismchuge 29 Oct 2010

    Love this pic

    The first one that's made it onto the work desktop

  • soad 29 Oct 2010

    We have a lift off! biggrin Top stuff!

  • 1000TCR 29 Oct 2010

    louismchuge said:
    Love this pic

    The first one that's made it onto the work desktop

  • JJ78 29 Oct 2010

    as a big fan of donington I've seen this pic a few times but what I can't picture is where on the track this could be with such an elevation change to provide 'air time'... I'd guess it's on the way down to the melbourne hairpin but it could also be on the dunlop straight if the topography has been flattened over the years...

  • MantaMike 29 Oct 2010

    Donington Park looked quite different in 1937, i guess the pic is on the run doen to the old Melbourne hairpin.

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