The overalls still fit and so, by definition, does the cockpit. Thirty years on from the most successful season of his racing career, Kenny Acheson is easing back behind the wheel of a Sauber-Mercedes C9 in the same grey Nomex in which he won two rounds of the 1989 World Sports Car Championship and endured a heart-breaking near-miss at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Acheson, now 62, feels immediately at home in the Silver Arrow that put Mercedes back on the international motor sport map in only year two of its official comeback. He’s not driving the car on a circuit – he hasn’t had a competition licence since he walked away from the sport nearly a quarter of a century ago – but on the Turweston aerodrome runway just down the road from Silverstone. But it’s enough to rekindle some fond memories.
“The strangest thing is that it doesn’t feel strange at all, if that doesn’t sound a bit odd,” says Acheson, who has driven a racing car just the once, and only for a short demo, since retiring in 1996. “It all felt so natural – the noise of that V8 engine brings it all back. It really is a lovely racing car.”