An estimated total weekend attendance of nearly 15,000 fans turned out at the world-class racing circuit of Donington Park over the of weekend of 14th/15th April to enjoy two days of exciting track activity as the UK’s most popular racing series, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), visited the circuit.
The first of three BTCC races on Sunday around Donington Park’s 1.9 mile long National Circuit saw Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) lose the lead early on from the pole position he had scored in Saturday qualifying to Rob Collard (eBay Motors BMW), but a later clash between the pair meant Mat Jackson (Redstone Racing Ford) came through to win - repeating the feat he achieved a year ago at Donington Park. It was a popular win, as Jackson lives locally in Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire.
Race two saw more drama as Plato and Collard clashed again, causing Plato to fall out of contention and Collard also dropped back. Eventually, Jackson was overtaken by both Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing Team) and Honda team mate Matt Neal, with Shedden eventually scoring the win.
A dramatic first few laps in race three saw Dave Newsham (ES Racing Vauxhall) lead, before Jackson took over at the front. With so many incidents happening in the race, including a safety car period, it was hard to keep up with all the drama, but Jackson crossed the line first
The weekend’s drama didn’t end there though, as post-race the officials excluded Jackson for a technical infringement, handing the win to Shedden, who had finished third on the road but was further promoted after Plato, who had crossed the line second, had a two-second penalty added to his time for contact with Shedden.
The large crowd was also treated to multiple support races throughout the weekend, from the other BTCC top championships including the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup and AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup.
The Entertainment Zone in the middle of the picturesque parkland circuit kept all the family entertained throughout the weekend, meaning the excitement wasn’t just based on-track. In addition to multiple merchandise stands, the Capital FM PAD was a big draw, featuring a 'Need for Speed' XBOX game centre and a mini makeup/pamper zone, whilst the younger visitors experienced motor racing-themed rides and other activities.
Speaking about the event, Donington Park managing director, Christopher Tate, commented: "It has been a thrilling weekend and to have so many fans here at Donington Park to watch the BTCC meeting is great.
"There’s been a really positive atmosphere and ticket sales easily surpassed the BTCC event in 2011 which is very encouraging for the rest of this Donington racing year. Due to our central location and excellent transport links, visitors have come from all over the country to witness another memorable weekend.
"With other high profile events such as European Truck Racing, World and British Superbikes and the European Le Mans Series coming up this year at Donington Park, I’m sure the crowds will continue to be enthralled throughout the 2012 season."