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Major programme of winter works underway at Donington

Friday, January 18 2019

An extensive programme of upgrades and enhancements is well underway at Donington Park, as the East Midlands circuit prepares for its second full season under MotorSport Vision (MSV) operation.

These works, which will benefit all users of the venue, follow on from the many changes introduced during last winter, which included a completely new, hard surface for Paddock 3, many new toilet blocks and the creation of the superb Garage 39 café, restaurant and bar.

Multiple improvements for race event spectators
The most obvious change in 2019 will be to the main paddock entrance for pedestrian access into the circuit. Spectators will now enter the venue through a new section just to the right of the existing main entrance point, completely separate from vehicles, with three ticket booths and six pay lanes, allowing for much swifter entry. The ambience will be improved too, with the whole area set to be heavily landscaped.

Work started around a month before Christmas with a significant amount of earth excavated to make way for the new entrance, while the old concrete wall has been completely demolished to improve aesthetics and open up the view of the Melbourne Hairpin. The new entrance will be completed and operational by the start of the new season in March.

Further changes will take place at the pedestrian entrance at the Fogarty Esses: a more effective admission system will allow faster access into the circuit, with new pay booths set to be installed and more landscaping planned.

The tunnel into the infield at the Esses will also be improved with new LED lighting and signage, while additional signage will be erected all around the venue to make navigation much easier for all visitors to Donington Park.

Metal barriers in spectator zones will be replaced with more attractive wooden equivalents, while an additional spectator upgrade comes in the form of increased capacity at the popular Starkey's Parking area, with space for around 50 more vehicles.

Significant improvement works will also be carried out on the infield campsite to improve drainage.

A big new focal point will be the relocation of the race winners' podium. The previous elevated structure wasn't visible to many spectators and those watching from the pit lane hindered its use, creating a safety risk. So a new podium will be constructed by the Scrutineering Bay next to Garage 39. This will enable many more people to witness the post-race ceremonies and will further enhance the atmosphere in the paddock.

Further upgrades to benefit circuit users and track marshals
Donington's excellent marshals will benefit from several upgrades over the winter, which include the installation of brand new marshal posts to replace the outdated existing versions. Around a third of the posts will be replaced before the new season, as part of a two-year plan to replace or renovate all of them. Marshals will also be allocated designated parking areas near to their posts at most events so they can reach them easily in their own vehicles.

For race competitors and trackday users, the concrete run-off at the Old Hairpin has been improved and extended, whilst the paddock will feature three new designated recycling areas to dispose of waste and oil.

Meanwhile the new and extended Pit Lane Suite at the rear of Garage 39 has been designed to host briefings during race meetings and trackdays, and benefits from its own reception area and direct access to the pit lane. It's also an ideal space for meetings, banquets and conferences, or for use on automotive manufacturer events.

Finally, hundreds of new trees will enhance the parkland feel of the circuit. Five hundred saplings have already been planted on the banking behind the Hollywood Grandstand, with more to follow on the infield, with their location very carefully planned to ensure no views of the race track will be obscured.

Donington Park Venue Manager Chris York commented: "Whilst a considerable amount of work was carried out last winter to bring Donington Park up to the standards of the other circuits in the MSV portfolio, we were aware of other areas where investment was much needed. Our programme of upgrades over the next few months will ensure Donington takes another big stride forward in time for our brilliant calendar of events in 2019."

The new events season at Donington commences on Sunday 3 March with the Donington Rally. A complete list of confirmed events for the new season is viewable here.