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Retro karting set to be big draw at Donington Historic Festival

Tuesday, April 16 2019

This year's Donington Historic Festival (3-5 May) will feature a major new attraction, with historic karts on show and demonstrated in an 'action arena'.

The attraction, featuring a number of famous models, will be at the Launch Pad near Redgate corner, and will include static indoor displays plus the karting arena where many will take to the track for a series of special demonstrations.

More than 50 karts are confirmed to attend from years spanning 1961 to 1990, and include those identical to machines Ayrton Senna raced in his formative career, a genuine Martin Hines machine and one similar to a kart driven by Nigel Mansell.

Senna's karting career is well documented and the legendary Brazilian drove for the Italian DAP manufacturer in four World Championship events starting in 1979. He exploded on the European karting scene, driving the number 15 DAP WTR with a DAPT70 engine at Estoril in Portugal. As he crossed the line as winner of the last heat, he thought he had won the title, but when the points were tallied he missed out by one point to his teammate Peter Koene of Holland.

In 1982 Senna made his last attempt to win the Karting World Championship at Kalmar in Sweden again driving a DAP (Number 77 DAP GP79 with a DAP TT72 engine) but his chassis was inferior to that of Britain's Mike Wilson (Birel/Komet), who won the title. By then, Senna was already competing and winning in Formula Ford 1600 & FF2000 and on the edge of F1. He never returned to karting and was always bitterly disappointed that the Karting World Championship had eluded him - a sport he considered the most pure form of motorsport.

The two DAP machines present are genuine original DAP chassis and engines used during the events mentioned above, and therefore could contain elements actually raced by Senna himself.

The Hines kart is the legendary 140mph Hermetite Zip Shadow with which he won the 1980 Silverstone Kart Grand Prix, and will be displayed with its winners GP plate.

The oldest kart on display will be a 1961 USA Go Kart 800 machine fitted with two chainsaw engines, and built by the company that established the go kart name!

Meanwhile, other special examples on show will include a Motus Mk7 which is a full fibreglass monocoque kart, a revolutionary aerodynamic machine unlike any kart before or since. Dud Moseley drove a similar kart to two British championships before the concept was banned by the RAC, and Moseley will be on hand at the event to recall his karting years. In addition, a 1968 Dale Cutlass/Villiers kart will be present, a very similar machine to that driven by Mansell in his early years.

Demonstrations will take place on all three days of the Festival.

Tickets for the Donington Historic Festival are available in advance and offer significant discounts over buying on the gate, starting at just £10 for the Friday qualifying day (May 3). Children aged under 13 are admitted free of charge and there are discounted tickets for teenagers aged 13-15. For more information or to book, click here.