Motor racing fans across the globe watched in awe on April 11, 1993, as triple World Champion Ayrton Senna gave a masterclass in driving in the wet at the European Grand Prix at Donington Park (pictured above). His extraordinary performance included the opening ‘lap of the gods’ – which has been hailed as perhaps the greatest ever in F1 history. On April 29 and 30, 2023, the Donington Historic Festival will pay homage to that unforgettable occasion, with F1 track demos and displays.
F1 cars already confirmed for lunchtime track demonstrations on both days of DHF 2023 include a Toleman TG-184, which Senna drove in the 1984 Detroit GP and in qualifying for that year’s Monaco and Brands Hatch Grands Prix, and a Benetton-Ford B193 driven by Michael Schumacher during the 1993 season.
In addition, Festival organisers are inviting the general public to share their memories of that day and will display a photo wall of images and reminiscences from those who were lucky enough to be in the crowd at the time. Those wishing to contribute can upload their photographs and memories via the Donington Historic Festival website. Free-of-charge lunchtime pitlane walks will allow visitors to set foot on the pitlane that Senna famously drove through en-route to his iconic victory, while echoes of Ayrton Senna’s earlier days in motorsport will come in the form of a static display of historic karts from the British Historic Kart Club. Karting gave the legendary driver his first experience of competition, as it did with so many big names in the sport.
Senna’s – and Formula One’s – Greatest Lap
Ayrton Senna’s association with what he called ‘my best UK circuit’ began in July 1983, when the Brazilian driver got his foot on the F1 ladder when he tested Keke Rosberg’s Monaco GP-winning Williams Cosworth FW08 at Donington Park. But it is the 1993 European Grand Prix – the first GP held at Donington Park in 55 years – that is eternally etched on the memories of motorsport fans.
Starting from fourth position in his underpowered McLaren behind the Williams of Alain Prost and Damon Hill and the Benetton of Michael Schumacher, Senna mastered the torrential rain to secure first position by the end of the first lap. He went on to take the chequered flag a stunning 80 seconds ahead of second-placed finisher Damon Hill, Prost having fallen back to third following a stall in the pits.
Donington Historic Festival – action-packed on and off the track
The Donington Historic Festival (DHF) offers a wealth of on and off-track entertainment for spectators, with two days simply jam-packed with world-class race action, track displays and parades, an open-access paddock and pitlane walks, a trade village, plus the presence of hundreds of cherished classic cars in displays staged by dozens of car clubs. The event attracts a calibre of drivers that matches the calibre of cars, and past and present-day BTCC and Le Mans names are often seen on the entry lists.
This family-friendly event at a circuit renowned for unrivaled spectator viewing is also a great way to introduce the younger generation to the joys of historic motorsport – with the added advantage that you can take it all in on the Saturday and Sunday and still have the Bank Holiday Monday to relax at home!
For further information and tickets please visit www.doningtonhistoric.com.