Mansell to open Rockingham aboard Champ Car

British racing hero Nigel Mansell will return to the seat of a Champ Car to open Rockingham Motor Speedway, Britain's first high-speed oval racing venue since the pre-war Brooklands circuit

Mansell to open Rockingham aboard Champ Car

Mansell, who was CART champion in 1993, will lap the new £50 million pound facility situated near Corby, Northamptonshire, during the Coys International Historic Festival on May 26.

"I'm really looking forwards to getting back in a car, its the first time in a long time that I have driven a single seater," said Mansell. "The track looks awesome and it should be good for over 180mph - although I'm not going to try and do it at full speed!"

Rockingham's banked 1.5-mile speedway layout features an all-seater stadium, and the track will host the 200mph-plus FedEx Champ Car series in September. Mansell won that title in 1993, just a year after winning the Formula 1 World Championship for Williams - making him the only driver to win the two world's premier single-seater titles back-to-back.

At a launch today at his Woodbury Park golf course, Mansell got behind the wheel of one of the star cars of the Coys Festival, the 1955 Le Mans-winning Jaguar D Type that was driven by Britain's first World Champion Mike Hawthorn. It is expected to fetch over £500,000 in the Coys auction that takes place at the Festival later this month.

"I learned the word 'wow' when I was in America and it surely must apply to this car," said Mansell of the D Type. "Not only has it got a fantastic history with Mike Hawthorn and those drivers were my heroes, but it is also one of the most beautiful cars in the world. Whoever buys it at the Coys auction will be a lucky man."

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