Ex-F1 driver Martin Donnelly gets BTCC debut at Thruxton after all

Ex-Formula 1 driver Martin Donnelly will make his British Touring Car Championship debut at Thruxton this weekend after all following a last-minute U-turn from the Infiniti team

Ex-F1 driver Martin Donnelly gets BTCC debut at Thruxton after all

AUTOSPORT revealed the plan for the former Lotus F1 man to drive a Support our Paras Racing-run Q50 on Wednesday, but it appeared a setback days before the event meant the partnership would not be able to begin this weekend.

The 51-year-old will now replace Richard Hawken in the team after a number of hurdles were cleared in the run up to the event, including Donnelly getting fitted for a seat.

He told AUTOSPORT he was keen on the move because his recovery from the crash in qualifying for the 1990 Spanish Grand Prix, which ended his F1 career, ties in with the motive behind the paras-inspired team.

The British Formula 3 and F3000 race winner sustained severe injuries in the crash, particularly to his legs, but he returned to racing later that decade and has since contested a variety of categories, competing in the Lotus Cup UK alongside his son Stefan last year.

"The paras are very brave men who have gone out and put their lives on the line for the likes of us," Donnelly said earlier this week.

"They've sustained injuries in their career and in my career as a professional racing driver I sustained likewise injuries.

"If we could make it through together and be successful it would make a really good story."

REMEMBER WHEN...

...an ex-Formula 1 driver last raced in the BTCC?

Three-time grand prix winner Johnny Herbert made nine starts in a Team Dynamcs Honda in 2009, earning a best finish of seventh.

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Ex-Formula 1 racer Martin Donnelly denied BTCC debut at Thruxton

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