‘Our Nige’ to take on Prost, Patrese, Jones and Arnoux — again!
The Grand Prix Masters series for Formula One’s ‘senior citizens’ has received a massive boost with the signing up of Nigel Mansell for the first race at Kyalami in November.
The 1992 World Champion will line up alongside fellow Williams legend Alan Jones, former teammate Riccardo Patrese, two-time champion Emerson Fittipaldi and ex-Ferrari star René Arnoux for the South African race, which takes place on November 13.
Alain Prost, Jody Scheckter, Jacques Laffite and Patrick Tambay are all likely to compete too.
Mansell, who last raced in F1 in 1995 during a brief stint at the McLaren team, said: “Grand Prix Masters is something that racing fans have wanted for a long, long time. It’s premature to make bold claims before we have raced, but I’m sure this is going to be spectacular.”
The 52-year-old Mansell comfortably qualifies for GPM, which has a minimum age limit of 45. “I can safely say there’s life in the old dog yet!” he said.
All the stars will drive identical cars, a much-modified version of the 1999 Reynard 991 Champ Car chassis fitted with 3.3-litre Nicholson-McLaren V8 engines.
Mansell has also thrown his weight behind a potential UK date for the series in 2006. “There’s nothing agreed yet for a race in Britain but it would be a huge thing for the fans, wouldn’t it?” he said. “I would certainly help promote it and I would do everything I could to support it. It could be a great event for British motorsport.”
Mansell has a proud record at Kyalami: he took his second grand prix win on the old circuit in 1985 and won the first F1 race on the modern track in ’92. But he and the other ex-champions may struggle to keep up with Jan Lammers, who won a non-championship Formula 3000 race there in ’95 and is still racing regularly in sports-prototypes.