Touring Car treats at Donington Historic Festival

Touring Car treats at Donington Historic Festival

Tin Top action set to stun at DHF 2023 (29/30 April)
Touring Car fans are in for an absolute treat at this year’s Donington Historic Festival (29/30 April), with five spectacular races featuring the ever-popular tin-tops. Coming just a week after Donington Park plays host to today’s cars and stars with the opening round of the Kwik Fit BTCC, the Festival is a fabulous throwback to decades of Touring Car glory. 

DHF Touring Car action kicks off on Saturday, 29 April, with what promises to be a massive, combined grid for the Historic Touring Car Challenge, Tony Dron Trophy, Sixties Touring Car Challenge and U2TC for under two-litre Touring Cars.

The 70's and 80's Touring Cars of the HTCC are the machines most of us wished our parents (or we!) drove back in the day, with ‘favourites’, from Mk1 Ford Escorts and Capris, BMW CSL ‘Batmobiles’, Group A Rover SD1s, MG Metro Turbos, Alfa Romeo GTVs, TWR XJSs to BMW E30 M3s, Nissan Skylines and flame-spitting Sierra RS500 Cosworths.  Not to be left out, the Tony Dron Trophy sees Ford Capris and Mk 2 Escorts wheel-to-wheel with Triumph Dolomite Sprints, Chevvy Camaros, Alfa Romeos and Golf GTIs. Add to this the pre ’66 under 2 litre Touring Cars of U2TC such as Mk 1 Mini Coopers, Mk 1 Lotus Cortinas, and BMW 1800s and the Group 2 and Group 1 Touring Cars from 1966 to 1969 of the Sixties Touring Car Challenge - think Mk 2 Lotus Cortinas, BMW 2002s, early Mk 1 Ford Escorts, Mk 2 Minis, and Lancia Fulvias - and you will have an absolutely packed grid that promises fabulous racing.  The first entry into Redgate, with dozens of brightly-liveried machines hurtling away from the start line, will be unforgettable! Qualifying is at 09:45 on the Saturday, with the 50-minute race starting at 13:50.

That’s not the end of the tin-top action for the Saturday. Pre-’60 Touring Cars will also be mixing it out on track with pre-’63 and pre-‘63 GTs and pre-’60 Sports Cars in the epic three-hour Royal Automobile Club Pall Mall Cup, which brings the first day’s racing to an exhilarating close (qualifying: 10:55, race: 15:30).

Sunday, 30 April sees Touring Car action in three races, all from the hugely entertaining HRDC ‘stable’. Making its DHF debut, the HRDC Gerry Marshall Trophy for pre-83 Group 1 and 1½ Touring Cars evokes one of the greatest periods from the glory days of the BTCC, where many of the greatest drivers in UK motorsport history pitched battle against each other. Named after one of the most successful Touring Car drivers of all time, the HRDC Gerry Marshall Trophy series conjures up the intense battles that were fought by Gerry’s opponents Tony Lanfranchi, Gordon Spice, Stuart Graham, Barrie Williams, Andy Rouse and Win Percy in everything from Capris and Escorts to Rovers, Camaros and Mustangs. Qualifying is at 09:05, with the 45-minte race starting at 13:10.

The combined grid of HRDC Dunlop Allstars for pre-‘66 Sports, GT and Touring Cars and HRDC Classic Alfa Challenge for 750-116 Alfa Romeos echoes the ‘Allcomers’ racers that were a staple part of Club racing in the 1950s and ‘60s. Bringing pre-’66 Sports, GT and Touring Cars together on the same grid has produced one of the HRDC’s most successful series – and adding in the glamorous Classic Alfa Challenge cars has only increased the appeal of this grid. From mighty Cobras through to Austin A35s, with the added spice of Alfa GTs and Touring Cars, this is an intoxicating cocktail for any petrolhead! Qualifying is at 10:20, and the 30-minute race is at 15:25.

Finally, the weekend finishes with the HRDC Jack Sears Trophy for 1958-1966 Touring Cars. This series is singular in that it embraces all cars from the formative years of what we now know as the BTCC. From the early cars of the 1950s such as the ubiquitous Austin A35 and A40 giant-killers that battled so fiercely against the thundering Jaguar Mk1s, this series encompasses the development of Touring Cars through the early to mid-1960s with the heady battles between Lotus Cortina, Ford Mustangs and Falcons and, of course, those cheeky Mini Coopers! Watch out for titanic class battles throughout this truly historic grid! Qualifying is at 11:20 and the 45-minute race begins at 17:40, ending the Festival weekend in tin-top style.

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