- 1 Circuit Map
- 2 Getting There
- 3 On Arrival / Signing on
- 4 Circuit Usage / Configurations
- 5 Posts
- 5.1 Parking - General
- 5.2 Post 1 - Start/Finish Straight
- 5.3 Post 2 - Redgate In
- 5.4 (Post 3 - Redgate Inside)
- 5.5 Post 4 - Redgate Out
- 5.6 (Post 5)
- 5.7 Post 6 - Hollywood
- 5.8 Post 7 - Craner Curves
- 5.9 (Post 8 - Craner Curves)
- 5.10 Post 9 - Old Hairpin
- 5.11 (Post 10)
- 5.12 Post 11 - Starkeys Bridge
- 5.13 Post 12 - Schwantz Curve
- 5.14 (Post 13)
- 5.15 Post 14 - McLeans
- 5.16 Post 15
- 5.17 (Post 16)
- 5.18 Post 17 - Coppice In
- 5.19 Post 19 - Coppice Out
- 5.20 Post 21 - Dunlop Straight
- 5.21 Post 23 - Fogarty's/Esses In
- 5.22 (Post 24) (GP)
- 5.23 Post 25 (GP) - Fogarty's Out
- 5.24 Post 26 (GP)
- 5.25 Post 27 (GP) - Melbourne In
- 5.26 Post 29 (GP) - Melbourne Out
- 5.27 Post 33 (GP)
- 5.28 Post 38 (GP but also used as a point for locating incident crews for the National) - The Cage
- 5.29 Post 39 (GP & National) - Esses Out/Goddard's
- 6 Lunch / Circuit Customs
- 7 Marshal's Perspective
- 8 Scanner Frequencies
- 9 How to Marshal Here - Contacts
- 10 Local Accommodation
- 11 Camping
- 12 Circuit Contacts
- 13 History
The above image does not show every post, as several are rarely used. See the post list below for a bit more detail on the "missing" post numbers.
Donington is easy to find, being close to East Midlands Airport and the point where the M1, A42 (M42), A453 and A50 all come together. It's really well signposted from all of them with the exception that exiting from the A50 to come through Castle Donington village you have to make sure you take the correct exit from the roundabout!
From the M1, follow the signs which bring you past East Midlands Airport on the A453. The main entrance is just off the A453 about 100 metres up the road into Castle Donington.
From the A42 there are two choices - follow it to the end and take the A453 back past the airport as detailed above, or exit at J14 and follow the A453 in the opposite direction.
From the A50, again, you can either go all the way to the M1 junction and then follow the signs from there, or turn off at A50 J1 and follow the road through the village. Just after the road bends round the end of the airport runway you'll find the main entrance on the right.
The paddock entrance is off a road half a mile or so further along the A453 to the west - it's signposted but it's on a hill and is an angled junction, so take it easy when approaching. The giveaway is the 40mph zone - the junction's in the middle of this. Turn up that road, and you'll find the paddock entrance is about half a mile on your right.
On Arrival / Signing on
Access to Donington for most meetings is via the Paddock Entrance - this is the entrance at the opposite end of the circuit to East Midlands Airport. You can always get in through the Main Entrance at the airport end but will then have to use the internal roads to get to the paddock; for larger meetings areas of these roads can be blocked off so it can be a little awkward if you don't know your way around.
Once at the Paddock Gate, show your tickets/passes (assuming you have them!) and then enter the paddock area. Now the old Craner Suites have been demolished, sign-on is usually held in suites 78 & 79 above the shop and Diner (overlooking the bottom of the Melbourne Loop). After entering the paddock, turn right through the Assembly Area cage and park - sensibly - on the roadway or on the Loop itself. Walk back down to the Assembly gate, turn right into the paddock, turn right again and go up the stairs at the end of the hospitality suites. ES Team are usually in 78, Club in 79. Tea and coffee are usually available for which a small charge may be made.
Note that some meetings using the National Circuit may also be using the Loop for e.g. karts or TV compounds; there is a small possibility you may need to park elsewhere so follow the instructions which will have been sent with tickets.
Circuit Usage / Configurations
Two circuit configurations:
National Circuit - 1.979 miles
Grand Prix Circuit - 2.487 miles - Adds the Melbourne loop
It is felt by some that the National Circuit is better from a racer's perspective - the GP Circuit was felt to spread the cars out to much as a result of the stop-start nature of the loop. Since redevelopment in 2010/2011, the Esses were moved back so the left/right split occurs in the same place. That means on the National Circuit cars are entering Redgate something like 10mph faster than they used to.
Post numbering can be confusing as posts were numbered according to an FIA directive relating to 'phone points - some of which no longer have phones!
Note - posts 25 - 33 are only used on the GP circuit - so if you get sent there for a National circuit meeting you have probably upset someone!
Parking - General
When parking around the marshals posts, cars should not block the perimeter roadway or spectators' view of the track. Occasionally cars must not be left at the sign-on carpark at Craner Curves - please check this before leaving your car as it might get 'removed'.
Posts in (brackets) are the less frequently used posts.
Post 1 - Start/Finish Straight
On inside of circuit opposite the pits. Tends to get the startline accidents but occasionally has to deal with pit wall impacts too. Parking is behind the post. Toilets about 100m - use the ones at sign-on area, just across track at exit gate from pits (if there's time between sessions), used to be some by the temporary grandstand.
Post 2 - Redgate In
Outside of circuit at end of hospitality suites just before corner. First corner... need we say more? There's a big gravel trap here, and usually a snatch tractor too. Be prepared to run out to push cars which haven't buried themselves, and to spend the day opening and closing the barrier gates here to let recoveries exit the circuit.. Notably here the observer's box/flag point is before the corner, but the incident team can be located in the corner at the back of the gravel trap. Parking is in the paddock. Nearest toilets are in the Redgate hospitality block.
(Post 3 - Redgate Inside)
Inside of circuit on apex. Only manned at larger meetings. Toilets as post 1.
Post 4 - Redgate Out
Outside of circuit just after main apex of corner. On the same trap as post 2, a lot of cars run wide here. If they're lucky they can make it all the way round the corner and exit the trap above post 6. If not, they'll need a push! At smaller meetings you can park behind the post, otherwise walk up and cross the circuit from sign-on. Toilets as for post 2 or post 6, a couple of minutes brisk walk.
Inside of circuit opposite post 4. Fire point only, normally only manned at larger meetings.
Post 6 - Hollywood
Outside of circuit at top of Craner Curves. Tends to catch the cast-offs from incidents around Redgate. Also known for cars pulling off on the grass on the inside, so be prepared to shout to the driver. Parking behind the post (as far back up the slope as possible, please!), or walk over from sign-on. Toilets are currently positioned at the top of the slope behind the post.
Post 7 - Craner Curves
Outside of circuit part way down hill - just look for the tall tower! Great point for blue flagging. Parking adjacent to post. Toilets as for 6 or 9.
(Post 8 - Craner Curves)
Inside of circuit halfway down the hill. Rescue Unit station. Manned with incident cover at some meetings, but not all. Plenty of parking just behind the post but please don't block the access roads. Toilets half way along hospitality block.
Post 9 - Old Hairpin
Outside of circuit at straight-on point for cars failing to get round the Old Hairpin. Great point for blue flagging. Like Redgate, this has a massive gravel trap and tends to collect a lot throughout the course of a meeting especially if the weather turns wet during a session. You get an iconic view of cars pouring down the Craner Curves from here. Snatch tractor point is between posts 7 and 9. Parking is adjacent to the post, as are toilets.
Outside of circuit under Starkey's Bridge. Not usually covered, but the snatch tractor has a gate here and cars which have been recovered are often parked up behind the bridge for end of session recovery.
Post 11 - Starkeys Bridge
Inside of circuit, just after Starkey's Bridge. Along with post 12 following, is the scene of many a side-to-side battle between two or more cars fighting for position as they go up the hill. As a result, contact is occasionally made with the tyre wall. Parking is on the outside of the circuit adjacent to Starkey's Bridge. Currently there's a portaloo between 11 and 12, where the fire truck parks.
Post 12 - Schwantz Curve
Inside of circuit part way up the hill. Preceded by a track where one of the fire trucks sits during sessions. See post 11 for likely activity. Parking again is across the circuit.
Inside of circuit on approach to McLeans. Rarely used.
Post 14 - McLeans
Outside of circuit at straight on point. Infamous corner for big lunges up the inside or over-optimistic round the outside moves. Both often end in cars in the big gravel trap. Good blue flag post as you can see the cars for several seconds as they come up the hill. Prone to being a bit windy! Parking right behind post, toilets about 100m away.
Outside of circuit halfway along the straight. Starting to be used again for some events as of July 2014.
More or less at the bottom of the dip between McLeans & Coppice. Takes some responsibility for track limits reporting on exit from McLeans for some clubs. Challenging point to blue flag from - not much decision time between the cars getting out of McLeans and getting past you!
Currently (early August 2014) nearest toilets are the ones at McLeans or Coppice, or a portaloo across the track at 16.
Inside of circuit more or less halfway between posts 15 and 17. Rarely used apart from as a Rescue Unit station. Does have a portaloo.
Post 17 - Coppice In
Outside of circuit at straight on point, up a very tall tower with a hooped ladder which can make getting kit boxes up there a little tricky. The height now means there's a clear view of the track from McLeans through the dip at 15 so much easier to blue from or report contact than it used to be. Like McLeans, the scene of many an over-optimistic lunge resulting in cars being buried in the gravel. Also a snatch tractor location. When it's cold, it's really really cold here - it's almost always windy, and there's nowhere to hide! Parking is right behind the post, as are toilets.
Post 19 - Coppice Out
Outside of circuit at exit of corner. Slightly better blue flag point than 17, as you can see across to the entry and exit of McLeans and prepare yourself well in advance. Parking adjacent post, toilets a short walk at post 17. Spectators are not permitted down beyond the gate leading to 19 - please close the gate, and turn spectators round if they get to you. If they get past and make it to 21, it's a dead end and a long walk back!
Post 21 - Dunlop Straight
Outside of circuit adjacent to the Exhibition centre. Great post to blue flag from. Rare for incidents to occur here, but often the scene of mechanical pull-offs on either side. Parking right next to post, and currently there's a portaloo there too.
Post 23 - Fogarty's/Esses In
Inside of circuit over the Esses tunnel. Again, great blue flag point but often very much more an incident post as cars squeeze into the Esses. Snatch tractor is sometimes located here, and the sweeper almost always is. Very much a team effort needed by the incident team here with those on posts 38 and 39. Parking is adjacent to the post, toilets a short walk towards post 39.
Long (GP)/Short (National) circuit split Here the circuit splits left or right, depending on the configuration being used. The National circuit goes to the right into Roberts and onto the start/finish straight (so the next post is 39); the GP circuit heads left through the Fogarty Esses onto the Melbourne loop past posts 24 and 25.
(Post 24) (GP)
Outside of circuit opposite post 23 after the Exhibition Centre. Not really a marshalling point. Most often referred to by radio as a location for Rescue Units/Fire Truck/Ambulance/Circuit vehicles when the National circuit is being used.
Post 25 (GP) - Fogarty's Out
Outside of circuit entering the Melbourne Loop. A bit like 23, 38 & 39 this post sees a lot of corner cutting through the left/right flick and occasionally contact happens as a result. Very tricky blue flag point as there is zero visibility of approaching cars until they're into the Esses. Parking is either in the paddock or behind post. Toilets 100m.
Post 26 (GP)
In the centre of the loop. Traffic passes both sides; flag covers traffic down the loop, incident in both directions. Can be challenging to keep your mind pointing in the right direction! Parking is either in the paddock or at post 25. There is no toilet here, so you must cross the track to use the toilets outside the loop near post 27.
Post 27 (GP) - Melbourne In
Outside of circuit just before the hairpin. The scene of many a lunge. Parking again either in paddock or adjacent the post. Toilets 100m.
Post 29 (GP) - Melbourne Out
Outside of circuit on exit from the hairpin at end of hospitality units. Like 27, the scene of many a badly planned manoeuvre and lots of contact. Parking in paddock (marshal's campsite in paddock 3 is a good idea). Toilets also in paddock.
Post 33 (GP)
Halfway up the return leg of GP loop against paddock fence. Good blue flag point. Parking in the paddock, toilets likewise, or you can go down pitlane entrance and use ones by startline office.
Post 38 (GP but also used as a point for locating incident crews for the National) - The Cage
This is a crucial point for incident marshals - on both circuits. Can feel a little exposed at times, definitely one to be aware of oncoming traffic. On GP circuit days cars approach from both sides, so that can be quite a challenge! Safe and rapid recovery of marooned vehicles by the team on 38 (sometimes with snatch from post 2 or 23, if available) can keep safety car periods to a minimum. Parking at post 23 or 39 or next to post 24, and walk over. Nearest toilets are whichever one you can reach quickest!
Post 39 (GP & National) - Esses Out/Goddard's
Inside of circuit covering the exit of the Esses on National circuit days or the Goddard's hairpin on GP circuit days. Quite popular for cars to clobber the wall right under the post here as they finish incidents that usually started as they passed 23. Parking is adjacent the post, toilets about 150m towards post 1 or 150m back towards 23 depending where they've been put.
Lunch / Circuit Customs
Donington is a classic British racing circuit - fast, sweeping bends, lots of elevation change, several really iconic challenging sections (both fast and slow). Considering that the 2009/2010 F1 debacle left the circuit teetering on the brink of survival, we're very lucky that it's still operating. The now owner, Kevin Wheatcroft (son of Tom who built the circuit up from 1977 on) seems to be building a good team to ensure the ongoing development of the circuit.
It's a very friendly circuit - it seems especially so since the appointment of Christopher Tate, formerly of the Masters Racing team, as the managing director.
The infield was fully reopened in 2017 after years of structural and landscaping work. There are large grassed viewing banks from the Old Hairpin up to McLeans, a little different to the layout pre-butchery but a welcome sight nonetheless.
As for marshalling - there's a team of regulars, many of whom have been marshalling at Donington for several years. The BMMC frequently run their Taster Day programme at the circuit, bringing in enthusiastic new members, some of whom have already gone on to be regarded as "regulars".
Most posts are fairly easy to find (once you know how!). Once signed on and having listened to the briefing (!), posts 2, 4 and 6 are most easily accessed via the paddock. Some posts are accessed by driving carefully around the circuit to the Old Hairpin and then taking the exit after Starkey's Bridge to the outside (it doubles back, so take it easy) onto the perimeter road. Posts 7 & 9 are counter-clockwise (going back up the outside of Craner), posts 11 through 21 clockwise. Posts 23, 39 and 1 are most easily accessed from the gate between post 23 and 39. The Melbourne Loop posts are all close to sign-on and accessed via the perimeter road which is adjacent to the Assembly cage. If in doubt then ask someone else and follow them.
Do not drive on the grass. The circuit like their grass neat. It can be wet, it can be soft underneath, and apart from the risk of getting stuck you can drag mud back onto the track. That is not a popular thing to do!
As the circuit doesn't have a curfew, meetings can be timetabled to run quite late - but with timetables being published in advance, you can make a decision based on those. Slightly more problematic is meetings that over-run; occasionally if there's been a delay earlier in the day the time can be made up at the end. This does not happen as often as some marshals think, but a reputation is hard to get rid of.
If you're camping, remember that the circuit is under the flight path for landing & take-off from East Midlands Airport. It can be noisy at night, so keep the earplugs handy!
Finally, don't forget The Donington Grand Prix Collection. There's a fabulous collection of historic racing cars from the early 20th century to the present day. Most of them are still runners, so occasionally there's a hole while one is loaned out (or raced) elsewhere. It's a good way to spend an afternoon.
Main channel is 166.7625
Channel 2 169.0125
Channel 3 169.3375
Some clubs (BRSCC for example) may bring their own radios.
Not all posts have phones - radios are used at post 19 and on all posts on the Melbourne Loop.
How to Marshal Here - Contacts
The British Motorsports Marshals Club has run an Emergency Services Team (the ES Team) at Donington since the circuit re-opened in 1975. The Team seeks incident volunteers for all car meetings at the circuit. The promoting clubs for each meeting are responsible for recruiting Post chiefs, flags, pits etc. and many also recruit additional incident marshals.
Contact details for ES Team volunteering via http://www.marshals.co.uk
Flag, Post Chief, Specialist - through organising club.
Alternatively if you're a BMMC member, use the online volunteering page.
Being near the airport there are several chain hotels (Radisson Blu - a circuit sponsor, Holiday Inn Express, Premier Inn and so on). A list of accommodation can be found on the circuit's website.
Camping for marshals is currently (summer 2014) a bit of a moveable feast, as the FIA Formula E headquarters have been built on the former campsite. Some meetings since then have used the wooded area to the back of Paddock 3 (on the left as you go past the Formula E buildings); others have had the site in the wooded area by the Craner Suites and sign-on; still others have used the field on the left at the Melbourne Lane entrance. Details are currently available from the ES Team Marshals Coordinator. Showers are available from either the portable units in Paddock 3 or better ones in the drivers changing room in Paddock 2 - by the Paddock Tunnel to the infield.
Redgate Lodge pub was demolished in 2010, so after hours if the Paddock Bar isn't open and you need a beer or food you'll need to walk round the corner to the Donington Park Farmhouse Hotel but note that they often run private events (weddings and so on) so aren't always open to walk-in custom (that needs confirming!). Donington Park services on the M42 is open 24/7, and there are several pubs & takeaways in Castle Donington village.
The Bull is marshal-friendly and about a mile walk from the campsite - go out of the paddock, walk down the hill to the main gate, do a quick right then left and follow the lane to a T junction. Follow the road round to the left and the pub is on the left. The food is and real ale is excellent, but MIND THE LOW BEAMS!
Occasionally the circuit accommodates marshals in a private campsite behind the hotel next to the main paddock entrance. This site is superb and well worth considering if the budget allows.
If you are camping in paddock 3 - take a big mallet and strong pegs as the ground is a bit stony.
Phone - 01332 810048 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Marshalling contacts - see above.
The track first opened in May 1931 with a motorcycle race. It was not until 1933 that the developed track was opened for car racing, including the Grand Prix in 1935, 37 and 38.
Between 1939 and 1971 the circuit was used by the Ministry of Defence. Purchased in 1971 by Tom Wheatcroft with a dream of restoring a circuit for use leading to a Grand Prix again. The track (to a slightly different layout from the pre-war one) was restored to use in May 1977.