Mark Blundell

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

My greatest race
He has won races from Le Mans to Indycars but says the greatest win of all was in Formula Ford where a trick new front wing put him in a class ahead of the field
British Formula Ford 2000 Championship race, Donington Park 1986

I was just 19 years old, and I had just blitzed the opposition. I felt like a Grand Prix driver. Yes, odd though it may seem considering some of the other formulae and cars I have raced in the intervening years, the Donington Park round of the 1986 British Formula Ford 2000 Championship was my greatest race.

In fact it wasn’t so much the race itself that was great, but the whole weekend surrounding it. We must have been about halfway through the season, and I was stuck right in the middle of an almighty battle with Bertrand Gachot for the British and European titles. We were the real minnows in the series that year. I was running with a team called Anglo-European Racing in what was actually my first professional drive – I got a road car from one of the team owners and 50 quid a week to turn up and race – but had no real money to help them out. Bertrand on the other hand had some serious Marlboro backing and was being run by Keith Wiggins, who later took his Pacific team all the way to Formula One. So it was certainly all the more satisfying to put one over on them.

Despite the disparity in our teams’ fortunes, we worked hard all year at improving the car and when we got to Donington we had brought a bit of a surprise for our rivals. We had managed to get our hands on the latest development front wings from Reynard. They gave me so much front-end grip they transformed the car. I drove out onto the track on practice day and I swear I did no more than literally 10 minutes running at the start of the session. I put myself on pole position by a clear half second, pulled back into the pits to save our little car and sat in the garages waiting to see if anyone out there could beat me. It was ever so cocky at that age. I know I was only doing Formula Ford, but I felt like I was in Formula One!

The biggest thrill for me was not that we had put the car on pole, or that we were half a second quicker than anyone else; the biggest thrill was just sitting there quietly watching Bertrand and Wiggy flogging their guts out to try and catch up. They were sticking new tyres on or whatever they could to make up the difference. But it was to no avail, our wings were way ahead.

Looking back, even at that stage of my career, even with those small cars, it was serious stuff. In those early years there was always some little trick development going on, something to give you the edge over everybody else. If it wasn’t trick wings it was anti-roll bars, tyre pressures or whatever. I can still remember Wiggy working really hard with softener compounds to get a little extra grip out of the tyres.

So every little thing we could think up was tried out and the big upset that weekend was that even though they were the ‘big team’ in the formula, it was us that turned up with the parts from Reynard. Sometimes you have to ‘work’ on people to get things… or maybe they just felt sorry for me.

Whatever the reason, it was us who had the trick parts, and we just rolled out of the trailer and blew everybody away in practice, and then did it all over again in the race.

Even though the start to the weekend was all and more than we could have hoped for, the race, in the end, was in some ways an anti-climax. There were no big dramatic thrills or any exciting wheel-to-wheel racing. I didn’t end up battling with anybody at all because I was literally gone, miles ahead, adios amigo, goodnight Vienna.

It was just one of those weekends where we drove away from the track all feeling like we were on top of the world. Of course, we soon came back down to earth with a bump, though. You always do in racing.

I can remember that Wiggy was pretty good at accepting that we had the edge that weekend, but he didn’t like losing as he had all those Marlboro men to answer to. I think he had the new wings by the next race if I remember correctly, so it was plain that he wasn’t going to sit back and take it on the chin for long. In the end, Bertrand went on to take the British crown and I got my hands on the European title. I’ve had some amazing races before and since that weekend winning an lndycar race by 0.027s this year springs to mind but Donington will always stick in my memory. The most satisfying thing about that era in British junior racing is that all the good guys made it to the top. That quality of drivers all at one time has not really come along since. I can’t think of a year where so many drivers made it – with me was Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert, Bertrand Gachot, Eddie Irvine, Martin Donnelly, Julian Bailey, Perry McCarthy. We all made it in one way or another though, after that season, aside from Le Mans in ’92, I didn’t win another race until last season.

Winning races at international level is extremely difficult, and it’s worth remembering that it gets harder and harder. The further you get up the scale, the more dependent you find you become on your machinery. You learn that at an early age, but don’t really comprehend it properly until you get out there in Formula 3000 or F1 and are flogging around in something lousy. Compare the number of winners in the very top formulae to those taking part, and you will see that the ratio is tiny. It’s a hard sport and there are so many bad breaks on the way that the satisfaction I took from a win like I had in my Reynard FF2000 in those early years is second to none.

You may also like

Related products