Donington Park is the oldest motorsport circuit in the UK still in operation. Originally part of the Donington Hall estate, it was first used for motorsport on Whit Monday in 1931 on the narrow lanes that formed the access roads of the hall. The track was widened in 1933, made permanent and became a venue for Grand Prix car racing, with the final pre-war races featuring the legendary Auto Union Silver Arrows driven by Bernd Rosemeyer and Tazio Nuvolari.
The circuit was closed at the outbreak of World War II, and was requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence to be used as a military vehicle depot. The land was purchased by businessman Tom Wheatcroft in 1971, who rebuilt the circuit and established the famous Grand Prix Collection at the site.
Racing returned in 1977 and the circuit quickly became one of Europe’s premier venues. With the addition of the Melbourne Loop section in 1985 came Grand Prix motorcycle racing with the first World Championship Grand Prix event in 1987. Eventually becoming known as MotoGP, Donington was the host venue for 23 years, and was also the location for the debut round of World Superbikes in 1988, an event still held at the circuit today. One of the most famous events at the restored circuit was the 1993 European Formula One Grand Prix, which was dominated by Ayrton Senna and featured the legendary opening lap, still described by many as the best in F1’s history.