Nigel Mansell Returns To Grand Prix Racing

  • British F1 World Champion to make return at Altech Grand Prix Masters South Africa

Race fans around the world and most notably in Britain today rejoiced at the unanticipated news that Nigel Mansell (52) is preparing for a spectacular return to Grand Prix racing. Nigel will be re-united with many of his past adversaries for the inaugural race which takes place at the legendary Kyalami circuit on November 13th - ‘The Altech Grand Prix Masters of South Africa.’ In a unique deal, Nigel has committed to a long term contract which will secure his services as driver and Grand Prix Masters ambassador. Nigel’s first taste of the 600 brake horse power Grand Prix Masters car will come in October during testing in Jerez (Spain). In addition to November’s inaugural race in South Africa, Grand Prix Masters will confirm shortly between four and five races for the 2006 championship calendar with both European and non-European venues expected.

"The idea of a Grand Prix Masters series has been muted by many for years and at last the dream becomes a reality!" said an enthused Nigel. "Since winning the FIA Formula One World Championship with Williams back in 1992 and eventually retiring from full time single seater racing in 1995, I have spent valuable time with my family while successfully transforming my beloved Woodbury Park estate into one of the best golf complexes of it’s kind. The hunger and desire to go racing, however, never leaves your blood, but the right opportunity has never really come along, until now that is! It’s one thing to be reacquainting myself with adversaries such as Prost, Fittipaldi and Patrese but throw in the added bonus of 200mph Grand Prix cars on legendary race tracks and you have the ingredients for what will be spectacular racing and the start of a very special championship indeed. The rivalry between us all will be no different from those glory days back in the 1980s and 90s but given the challenges this time round, the demands of racing will be tougher for all concerned. While the primary objective here is fun, entertainment and unprecedented access for race fans, the preparation, commitment and desire to win will be no less to the last time I drove a Grand Prix car in anger," said Nigel.

Having had several of the Grand Prix Masters race and in Nigel’s case win a world championship (1992) with his Formula One team, Sir Frank Williams said: "To think of Nigel climbing back into a race car today gives me goose bumps because I know he will be no less committed and no less determined to win! Nothing will have changed that very essence of competition that is so deeply engrained in him. I will watch with interest!"

Racing alongside Nigel will be an international cast of champions including Emerson Fittipaldi (Brazil), Alain Prost (France), Ricardo Patrese (Italy), Alan Jones (Australia), Stefan Johansson (Sweden), Andrea de Cesaris (Italy), René Arnoux (France), Jan Lammers (Netherlands) and Christian Danner (Germany), to name but a few. Between 14 and 16 cars are anticipated for the inaugural grid in South Africa with the total prize fund for the opening race being $500,000. The minimum age criterion is set at 45 years of age with more ‘big name’ drivers to be announced very shortly.

"It is a fascinating prospect to see some of the sport’s finest pedigree, albeit a little older and hopefully wiser, back in the saddle again and I have every conviction that the racing will be no less committed or competitive despite the great vintage of its drivers!" added Sir Frank Williams.

Scott Poulter, CEO Grand Prix Masters, expressed his sheer delight by adding: "We could not have asked for a better start to the Grand Prix Masters World Series than by having one of the biggest names in global motorsport commit to a long term deal of this kind! We are simply stunned, naturally delighted and extremely honoured to have on-board one of the most determined and acclaimed racers ever to grace a circuit! Nigel’s commitment has been nothing short of absolute right from the onset of our discussions and as is typical of the man, his bullish and gutsy attitude towards making this a long term success is what we have come to expect from the man the Ferrari ‘tifosi’ call ‘Il Leone,’ (The Lion)."

Delta Motorsports in Northampton (UK) are busy and well underway with the production of the race cars with a series of test sessions scheduled from next month. Grand Prix Masters are in the process of applying for FIA sanctioning and in the meantime, continue to work very closely with the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) who are providing invaluable counsel and support on matters pertaining to sporting code, technical regulations and race control.

2 September 2005 Staff

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