The second round of the 2011 World Superbike Championship will go ahead as planned at Donington Park after the circuit received its official homologation from the FIM.
The circuit has not hosted a world championship event since 2009 following the fall-out of its failed F1 British Grand Prix acquisition, but a series of updates will see it return to the international fold later this month.
With the final circuit inspection occurring on February 25th, it was confirmed that Donington Park is now in line with other top European, Middle Easter and Asian circuits in terms of safety standards.
Just one day before the inspection, Donington Park opened its doors for the first No Limits track day of the year. Over 200 motorcyclists enjoyed a day of riding in the early spring sunshine and with positive feedback from everyone involved, the venue is now looking ahead to the arrival of the World Superbike contingent.
“Hearing the sound of motorcycles on the track again really was something special,” says Donington Park Racing's Chairman Kevin Wheatcroft. “The whole team deserves appreciation for their hard work in getting to this point. With the time lost due to bad weather over the winter, the major effort has had to focus on restoring and preparing the track itself to meet FIM regulations and bring World Superbikes back.
“We're now working round the clock to have facilities ready in time for SBK and fans will see many positive changes, although inevitably because of the earlier delays some planned improvements will not be complete in time. I'd like to thank fans in advance for their ongoing patience and support of Donington Park and hope they are able to enjoy the spectator experience of world-class racing on the revamped track.”
Donington Park's focus on creating a positive experience for the fans includes new and improved spectator areas, specifically at Redgate Corner and Hollywood bank. A new section of the infield will be open to the public, accessed via the Esses Tunnel and allowing fans to watch the racing from Redgate, Hollywood, Craner Curves, the Old Hairpin and right up to McLeans.
Access into the circuit has been greatly improved with the addition of a new main entrance near the Exhibition Centre at gate 20, allowed by the removal of the railway carriage. Five permanent WC blocks will be completely revamped in time for World Superbikes with new fittings and lighting to greatly improve the standard of the facilities.
The reconstruction of the paddock area – including the removal of Redgate Lodge – has created extra space that will be allocated to trade stands, in addition to the usual trade stands in the infield area. Catering will be improved with the creation of a food village offering a wider variety of cuisine. For campers, Donington Park Racing has employed the service of a new security team to offer a more safe and secure camping area.
With all the above in place – and further improvements in the immediate pipeline – racing fans can once again enjoy the prestigious events in the 2011 calendar at the heart of British motorsport.
The WSBK round will take place on 25-27 March.