Donington Park is well on course for its return to the World Superbike Championship calendar as work continues to improve facilities and safety at the circuit.
The Leicestershire venue was left off the schedule in 2010 following the collapse of its ill-fated attempt to secure the F1 British Grand Prix, but a change of management has seen its status as one of the world's foremost motorcycling circuits revived for 2011.
Set to host the second round of the 2011 WBSK championship at the end of March, the circuit is currently having a £1 million makeover to bring it up to standard, with Claude Danis from the FIM recently visiting to give it an 'initial nod'.
As part of the £1m investment in improvements to the historic Donington Park, work has been carried out on the track to increase the run-off areas at The Old Hairpin and Redgate – the circuit's famous first turn.
The work at Redgate has necessitated the painstaking removal of the famous Redgate Lodge and Pub, but the building will be kept carefully in storage for a later re-build elsewhere at the circuit.
Other safety work has included improved drainage at the Foggy Esses and a programme to replace the debris fence.
Within the Paddock, increased space now makes the area one of the largest of any UK circuit and a new bar facility has been opened adjacent to the Pitstop Diner.
The West infield area will be open for spectator viewing at the World Superbike round as part of an ongoing programme leading up to and beyond the World Superbike round to improve visitor facilities and enhance the overall spectating experience, with the popular Exhibition Hall scheduled to re-open on 1 May 2011.
“It was with mixed feelings that we removed Redgate Lodge,” commented Donington Park's Kevin Wheatcroft, “but it was necessary for safety reasons and I can assure fans that it was dismantled very carefully because I would like to see it resurrected somewhere else on site in the future.”
He added: “This is a very exciting time for Donington. We've been working to some really tight deadlines and, although our programme of improvements wasn't helped by the weather at the end of last year, everyone is working extremely hard to get everything ready for World Superbikes next month.”
“This major investment in the circuit's future combines a passion for motorsport with the need to make this venture profitable,” concluded Wheatcroft. “The end result will be a world class facility that offers great viewing opportunities and a fantastic day out for motorsport fans.”
A further visit will be made later this month to give the official green-light to the event, to be held on 25-27 March.