May 4th & 5th 2013 – a date for your diary
The dates of the third Donington Historic Festival have now been confirmed as Saturday May 4th and Sunday May 5th 2013, giving enthusiasts an important entry for their diary. And for 2013 the Festival will celebrate the career of Ayrton Senna, marking in particular two historic events which took place at Donington Park; the 30th anniversary of the first time Senna ever got behind the wheel of a Formula One car and the 20th anniversary of his phenomenal display of mastery over the rain in the 1993 European Grand Prix.
Ayrton Senna put his foot on the first rung of the F1 ladder on July 19th 1983, when he tested Keke Rosberg’s Monaco GP-winning Williams-Cosworth FW08 at Donington. The young Brazilian impressed hugely, as he would also do later that year when he tested for McLaren and Toleman Hart at Silverstone. He went on to join Toleman for his Formula One racing debut in 1984, and a motorsport legend was born.
Fast-forward a decade, and the crowds flocked to Donington Park to see Senna – by then a triple World Champion – as the circuit played host to its first Grand Prix in 55 years. The conditions were not promising; torrential rain had made the track treacherous, and Senna started in fourth position in his underpowered McLaren behind the Williams of Alain Prost and Damon Hill that were dominating the season and the Benetton of Michael Schumacher.
What followed in the course of 76 laps would be forever etched in the hearts and minds of motor racing fans across the globe. Driving as if he were competing on a dry surface, Senna secured first place by the end of the first lap, then swapped the lead back and forth with Prost as the circuit dried out then was rained on again – with Senna opting to remain on slick tyres as the other drivers changed between slicks and wets. When the chequered flag was waved at the end of the race, he took victory an incredible 80 seconds ahead of the second-placed finisher, Damon Hill.
The Senna anniversaries will add a further, exciting dimension to what is already a ‘must-do’ fixture on the international historic motorsport calendar, combining the very best cars and drivers in an exhilarating weekend of top-level racing. The 2012 Donington Historic Festival saw cars from the 1920s to the 1980s take to the track, with everything from tiny Riley Brooklands to mighty Group C cars driven in a highly competitive spirit, and May 4th and 5th 2013 promises even more thrills. So it’s time to break open the 2013 diaries and book out that May weekend!