• Rob Lee

British GT at Donington Park

With the sun troubling to break the horizon, coffee piping hot and a large dose of Oasis on the radio, I was travelling towards Donington Park for a marshalling weekend.

It was strange that this was my first, and perhaps only, away weekend for marshalling this year, but I was on my way to the British GT Championship and was very much looking forward to the weekend ahead.

Donington Park pit straight and pit entry
Post 39 provides a stunning view of the pit straight

For me, there are three key points to having a great time marshalling. The first is a great team, thankfully the trio I was part of on Post 39 were superb. Not only a great laugh but a complete unit that helped each other out in all aspects of the day. If you wanted a team that would work well, this was the team. We also had the added bonus of having a fabulous post for the weekend.

Ginetta G40 race at Donington Park
Rush hour at Donington (Shirley Woodall)

The second key point is close racing, and I mean close racing. Thankfully almost every race guaranteed that. The icing on the cake was that the three-hour GT race had the top six cars covered by just 23 seconds when the chequered flag fell. Less than half a minute to cover six cars is completely staggering, especially when the winner, the #69 RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, spun on the first lap as well.

#78 and #66 racing in the British GT championship
Racing was close up and down the grid (Shirley Woodall)

Thinking back to the other races, we were treated to some good battles up and down the grids. I actually found myself a little bit gutted when a car went off track or had to retire and would stop the great racing.

The third and final key point to a great marshalling weekend is having great friends there too. After spending the first half of 2020 locked up in our own houses and the fact that some have been getting into marshalling everywhere and anywhere, there was a lot to catch up on. Not just local friends either, it was great to see friends from all over the country, a special shout needs to go to Bill Sudlow who entertained me and a few friends for a good couple of hours with some fantastic stories.

Another thing that I noticed about the weekend was the way that marshals were signed on each day. Having only been to Oulton Park this year, I was used to their way which was trying to stay as close to the pre-COVID way as possible, however, instead of a large queue in a small room, we are in an even larger queue (socially distanced) and outside.

Donington had a different solution and this was 'drive-thru' sign-on, unfortunately, you don't get a large fries and a strawberry milkshake with every post allocation, but at four different points, you get a programme, your post allocation, a bacon barm (a veggie option was available) and a radio.

Whilst I have no specific favourite in the process of signing, I was impressed by the different workings of solutions to the same problem that allows us to continue marshalling.

Every part of the weekend was enjoyable and being back out on the bank was great, now I just have to wait till the 17 October for it to happen all over again.

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