Donington Park has announced that work has started on a multi-million pound restoration of its infield area, which was left in a state of disrepair by the failed bit to secure the British Grand Prix.
The work carried out in 2009, before Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd collapsed into administration and the GP was given back to Silverstone, saw much of the circuit infield excavated by contractors.
Under the F1 plans, that infield section would then have been used for the creation of a new loop to lengthen the Donington Park lap, although the demise of the F1 plans then left the infield largely unusable.
The circuit has now made a successful planning application that will allow it to transform the infield, with the Eastern half of the infield being worked on over the coming winter and the work being completed following the conclusion of the 2013 season.
Over the two-year time period, new spectator banks will be created on the infield overlooking the Old Hairpin, Starkeys Bridge and McLeans and when complete, the work will also improve the viewing areas around Coppice, along the main Straight, and into both the Fogarty Esses and the newly-named Roberts chicane.
“This is a major project for the Park and will create a fantastic viewing area for all the fans,” Donington circuit manager Bob Adams said. “We'll be shaping 250,000 tons of material with topsoil and new grass lawns, right across these 24 acres, to make sure they will work well as our new spectator banks. We are also taking the opportunity of constructing new roads to improve access to the infield area, both for show cars at major events to reach display areas, but more importantly for the many manufacturer displays and the traders who enjoy the advantages of the Infield.”
Christopher Tate, Managing Director at Donington Park, said the work was the next step in the rebirth of the venue.
“We've had an amazing year of dramatic racing and a return of the crowds, for both the two and the four wheel events at the circuit,” he said. “Now, with the infield work already fully underway, Donington Park continues its rebirth as the heart and soul of British motorsport.”