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Sunday, July 09, 2017

ENGLAND - Donington Park - Caterham Sports Car Festival

25000 pounds would take this one home.
Donington Park Course is a 2.5 road track in the
Midlands of England
The green and gold are the colors of Lotus Racing Team
This green beauty with brown leather - was 25k - and very tight
Since we were already 300 miles north of London for the Durham Miner's Festival - we scheduled a side trip to see Donington Park Raceway for the Caterham Car Festival. If you have been reading my page for a while you know that I have already visited the factory in Dartford where they make this little 1000 pound beauty. It was first made in 1957 by Colin Chapman at Lotus. Later it spun off as Catherma Motors as it was based in Caterham - just south of London. You can find the stories using the search box at the top my page. The festival was to celebrate 60 years of the Super 7.

Saturday night we stayed at the Hilton near the train station in East Midlands. There is also a large airport there near the train station. What surprised us was the big coal fired power plant right by the train station with 8 giant cooling towers. 

After a late breakfast buffet at the Hilton - we got a cab to Donington Park around 11 AM. The race track is in a beautiful green country setting. It was not very crowded maybe 4000 people tops. I was surprised how many Caterhams were there. This is a rich man's sport - it seems that most of the cars were owned by the drivers. They raced from a standing start - and the races were 10 laps and took less than 30 minutes. There were not a lot of "bang ups" - I guess when you are paying the bills yourself - you tend to be more careful. 

After about 3 hours - I got my pictures - we enjoyed seeing all the cars in the showroom. The cars are all pretty much the same except for the engines. You can buy cars with horsepower anywhere from 100 to 400. Imagine having 400 horsepower in a car that weigh ½ ton - compared to a Chevy Corvette that weighs more than 3 times as much. Prices new go from 20,000 pounds to around 100,000 pounds. When your race - you race among other cars with similar power. They had a racing academy there - and students attend for a week. The first race was among those that just went to the academy. They were novices. 

I got into a car for pictures. It was difficult getting in and out. You use your arms like riding parallel bars - then you swing your legs in. There is very little room to move around in there. I could not imagine taking a 500 mile trip in one - let alone a race. When I was young  it would have been a "killer" ride.  Now at almost 70 - if I had a spare $100,000 - the ride I would be getting would be a luxury touring van. Boy how our perspective changes. 

The Donington Park Road Course it 2.5 miles long. That is the same length as the Pocono International track and Daytona track - except that Donington has left and right turns. It is also very popular for motorcycle racing. 

Around 3 PM we got a taxi to the train station - by 5 PM we were in our London flat. 

On the road course
About 20 cars raced at a time
The engines are based on the 1600 English Ford
Owner operated cars 
Tow them to the track - sleep in the camper
This Ferrari owned a couple cars 
The grandstands were pretty empty
There seemed to be many bored wives around 
The cars are really tiny 
You can buys for road or track 
It is an expensive hobby.
This must be a Gator car - orange and blue

After sitting for a while - and that salesman working me - I tried
to be cool getting out - only to produce my own gas.

I liked the older fender style of this older model
The Caterham dealership 
This coal fired power plant was right next to the
train station. You could hear the
water run down the 8 cooling towers 
In America we think of these cooling towers as a
nuclear power plant. This is a coal fired power plant

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