The Donington Classic April 30th - May 1st 2006

Always a favourite with the crowds, Top Hat races feature large over two days at the Midlands circuit that will be showing off its new pits complex for pretty well the first time. On the programme are races for '50s and '60s saloon and sports cars, and a special event for ACs.

A great weekend of historic racing has been planned for you at Donington Park over the bank holiday weekend 30th April – 1st May. This meeting is now in its fifth year and all indications are that this will be the strongest line-up to date, with 8 Top Hat promoted races plus two guest races - our old friends from Duncan Rabagliatis’ Formula Junior Association bringing a race for front-engine, drum-brake Juniors and Duncan Wiltshire’s fabulous Pre-War Sports Cars.

The format of this weekend offers all competitors a good range of long distance races at one of the most popular GP circuits in Europe.

Don’t miss this ‘must do’ event!

The Top Hat Races

COYS ‘50s Sportscar Trophy Race

The COYS ‘50s Sportscar Trophy Race will add glamour to an already strong meeting.

In the past, this meeting has enjoyed the company of fellow competitors racing ‘50s sportscars. For 2006 COYS - Top Hat’s ever-enthusiastic supporters - will be hosting a Trophy race for all types or ‘50s sportscars – to be divided into drum and disc-brake classes. Two great trophies have been commissioned for the winners of each group as well as the usual Top Hat class winner’s trophies. The format of this event has been set as an optional 1 or 2-driver, 45-mins race with a compulsory pit-stop – a really exciting formula which, by adding these star cars and drivers, will certainly prove to be a highlight of this great meeting!

AC Sportscar Race

John Arnold, Competition Secretary of the AC Owners Club, has asked Top Hat to stage an all-AC Sportscar race at Donington. This event is open to all makes of AC Sportscars built prior to 1966. FIA papers will not be required. Appropriate classes will distinguish road-going specification competition cars from full-race cars. A specially commissioned Shelby-Tojeiro Celebration Trophy will be given to the outright winner plus special class awards. *All cars must use CR65 or 48 Dunlop race rubber.

Cloth Cap, Top Hat and Sebring Salute

These ever-popular race titles will be running extended races at Donington. All three races will run under an optional 1 or 2-driver format over 1¼ -hour duration – not only allowing greater track time, but also giving team tacticians something more to think about!

The Cloth Cap pre-’66 Sportscars & GT race will have its usual high quality entry including the Ken Rudd Trophy for older AC sportscars up to and including the Ace.

Top Hat pre-’66 Touring Cars will continue with its new class structure – allowing 1-litre cars and 1600cc Homologation specials (Lotus Cortinas and Alfa Romeo GTAs) to run in their own classes for greater competition on a more level playing field – allowing the less powerful Cortina GTs to battle it out on their own with the Alfa Sprint GTs. Class ‘A’ will see Top Hat’s ‘Big Banger V-8s’ proving if they can dominate Donington’s awesome GP Circuit.

Sebring Salute’s spiritual home may be in the USA – but the series was born here at Donington Park! Expect to compete in the most awesome of races. ‘Bang for Buck’, the Sebring Salute brings more excitement to competitors and spectators alike than any other series!

Oldies But Goodies, Best of British and Groovy Baby!

Oldies but Goldies pre-‘60s tin-tops and older GTs look towards Donington as their second race of the 2006 season. Most drivers of saloons in this series will be waiting with bated breath to see if they have been selected for the St. Mary’s Trophy at Goodwood’s forthcoming Revival Meeting.

Consistent performances in the series will be bound to improve their chances and Donington will be the last UK round before the Revival in which to give a good showing - Fingers Crossed! In the meantime, they can contend the ‘Jack Sears Trophy’ for the outright win. Best of British competitors will get the opportunity to savour a pit-stop format with an extended race duration to 45-minutes.

The coveted ‘Spirit of MG’ Trophy will be again up for grabs to the first MG designed or powered car home and there will be, as usual, a fantastic Best of British Trophy to the overall winner. Our sprint race heroes – the ‘70s saloon car drivers from the emerging Groovy Baby! series - will be racing flag to flag . No pitstops for these boys who are always on a mission! If variety is the spice of any good grid – just get involved in this colourful ‘70s saloon car series! It hardly seems that it will be a year since we said ‘Goodbye’ to Top Hat’s patron – the great Gerry Marshall – at this meeting in 2005. It will therefore be fitting that the Top Hat ‘Gerry Marshall Tribute Trophy’ will be awarded to the winner of this race at Donington Park.

COYS Auction at The Donington Collection

Coys are set to hold a classic auction during this race weekend. Whilst sited at a race venue with an emphasis on historic motorsport, the content of this prestigious sale will have a classic emphasis. Expect to see some stunning classic road cars as well as fabulous historic competition machinery.

If you have a car to sell and want further advice about placing it in this prestigious sale, please call Julius Thurgood at the Top Hat office who will be happy to run through the procedure of selling your car at auction.

Or visit the COYS website:

Provisional Event Timetable


Cloth Cap - Pre-’66 Sportscars
Motor Racing Legends - Pre War Sportscars
Lurani FJ Front engine - Drum brakes
Sebring Salute Sportsracing & GTs
COYS ‘50s Sportcars Drum & Disc brake classes


Top Hat - Pre-’66 Touring Cars
Best of British - Pre-’71 Classic Sportscars
Motor Racing Legends - Pre War Sportscars
Oldies but Goldies - Pre-’60 Saloons & GTs
AC race - Up to the Cobra
Groovy Baby! - ‘70s Saloons

Potential competitors in this exciting event should visit or contact Julius Thurgood at the following address -

Top Hat,
Grove House,
80 Clarendon Street,
Leamington Spa,
Warwickshire CV32 4PE.
Tel/Fax. +44(0)1926 885835
Email. [email protected]

Regulations for Donington Top Hat races can be downloaded HERE

More news to come nearer the time.

Editor's Note - I'm a big fan of the Top Hat series and can thoroughly recomend a visit to any one of their race meetings throughout the year. The season starts at Castle Combe on Monday 17th April. I'll be there.

Text - Classic Driver
Photos - Top Hat

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