NOTE : This is a re-released piece which has been updated to support WordPress Gutenberg)
The Donington Park Collection on the Derby/Leicester border is a great experience this my little review with lots and lots of photo’s too! (I am going to upload more images on a dedicated photo host later)
Living nearby to the collection made it easy to get to for me to get to as in previous visits there was no issues with security asking about where I was going to a simple off to the collection was fine. Entering the collection the lobby has been repainted from its earlier look (The below is from 2016 on a lower spec Fuji film by friend Martin S who in 2017 updated to a Beginner DSLR so thanks martin for allowing me to use this shot) into a really clean fresh looking bright white it makes a big difference from the drab brown look it was before.
One thing that was evident immediately is the care that is taken to look after the cars in the collection some which even as show cars are worth a huge amount of money ‚ the entrance fee of £1’ does not seem so bad
Moving into the collection itself and out of the lobby entering the first thing that hit me on this visit was the pre-war 1937 Mercedes Benz W125 replica which when you read the story next to it is fully functional and was tested at the circuit which is very popular worldwide.
Moving past the W125 is another of Mercedes race car which is wrapped in 2010 specification Bridgestone potenza tyre’s and its this the 2010 car while not winning the championship the car was reliable and strong ‚ the car i am referring to is the MP4-25A Driven by Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button the car in the collection is of Jenson Button the interior displays expected wear and tear but that does not take away from it.
As in this review I am skipping the war era vehicle’s‚ bikes & boats aspect I will move on to more race cars etc and as always was nice to see the collections hall’s walkway’s littered with memorabilia which no matter how many times you seem to go always miss something or find new things added ‚ for me the save donington plaque below is one of the saddest pieces in the memorabilia collection at the collection
as in 2010 the original lease holder of Donington Park a leisure company went bust and sadly nobody could be found to run the circuit so the circuit closed down and as construction had started for the failed F1 track development which many people to this day believe was a desperation attempt by former F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone to extract more money from BDRC to run the race at Sliverstone. this left the track in ruins and angered many derby and Leicester locals.
however tireless work to repair the track meant it was able to reopen in time for one of the biggest events in the 2011 calendar the BTCC which featured a spectacular crash by Jason Plato in the sliverline sponsored Chevrolet cruze rolling it over in spectacular style at Craners.
Other racing Memorabilia also fills the cases not just from Donington a really nice thing to see this is not all of it and is just a small selection of it.
Back in the halls surrounded by more beautiful cars of years gone by including machine’s I remember when I was growing up Like Nigel Mansell’s FW11’“the legendary Red 5” and machines like the Lola T330 from the 1970’s very much before my time where the only computers and driver aids were in the drivers head.
But also the modern era machines with the likes of carbon fibre wings and driver aids and I’d love to just put every picture I took up but to be honest that would be impossible and make my article realllllyyyy long
towards the end of collection of the above cars sits a beautifully displayed Renault engine which after being sent a F1 engine database by a good friend Called Nixie (who also helped me create the flipbook in my photography pages) and comparing details in the picture I found out its a RS9 V10 from the 1997 season. Moving forward into the hallway I found myself unexpectedly saying Forza Ferrari ! as a really nice Ferrari 312B from 1970 sat behind a BAR Honda along the wall I had to snap the inside of the machine too having my longer Sony E 55-210mm lens and with my camera’s 100% viewfinder viewing really helped here so when I zoomed in I was able to precision adjust it.
Moving into the aptly named Mclaren Hall a really nicely designed collection of Mclaren’s from many different race series fills every inch of it from now folded champ-car to Formula 2‚ not much else to say here really its lots and lots of carbon fibre‚ very powerful cars
The Mclaren Mp4-9 powered by Peugeot in this collection is one machine that i have read all about on Wikipedia and from others it was for the Mclaren team a utter disaster a but the car still looks fantastic so it remains a favourite of mine alongside the Mclaren Mp4-4.
the champ car in my above shots is a curious one which makes it interesting and another favourite of mine it ran in a Mclaren colour scheme however was listed in the championship as Team Penske – Mercedes where as all the others were listed as Mclaren and the model name is not listed as MP but PC-27 which i assume (Maybe wrong here) means something like Penske champcar the number not sure about though
and for me the next area which is a old style garage scene with 2 cars it was a little chaotic on my visit but as it is not racing or racing items related I am skipping past it.
Another part of the Collection I really like is the trophy room its quite small with just enough room to swing a cat (I do not mean that literally not only is that horrible it is most certainly animal cruelty) with wall to wall cabinets full of trophies‚ pictures‚ plaques‚ champagne bottle’s‚ watches and other bits and piece
And It was time to end my trip with a look at the BRM/Vanwall hall this is an interesting collection of cars and for me actually the first time I had heard of Vanwall and the simplicity of the machines and the fact most of the exhibits had literally a metal tub and a seat a far cry from modern day race machines which are mostly made of single huge pieces of carbon fibre and reinforced composites and super strong roll cages‚ and again like some of my other favourite exhibits they were true drivers cars with no computer aids and analogue display’s.
and a really nice display at the end of the hall caught my eye of Aryton Senna.
Update : Sadly on the 5th of November 2018 the collection closed after 45 years due to family it is sad to see the collection close and it will be missed.