anchorman Jake Humphrey made an action-packed racing debut at Silverstone at the weekend, stepping out from behind the microphone to contest the latest round of the popular 'Lotus on Track Elise Trophy' around the celebrated 'Home of the British Grand Prix'.
Having recently passed his ARDS test to obtain a competition licence, Humphrey got behind the wheel of the same Sinclaire Motorsport-prepared Lotus Elise Sport as has been campaigned in the past by former Lotus F1 star Martin Donnelly and World Land Speed record-holder, Wing Commander Andy Green OBE. By his own admission, his first outing was always going to be a daunting prospect...even with moral support from several BBC F1
colleagues including commentator Jonathan Legard and pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz.
Backed by the MSA-established Go Motorsport
initiative – set up to help newcomers experience the excitement offered by all forms of motorsport – the 30-year-old joined more than 45 fellow competitors in the 'production class' Lotus Elises, including a number of other rookies. Qualifying took place on a drying yet slippery circuit and, despite a quick spin, Jake survived – and was far from the slowest man on-track either, lining up a praiseworthy 31st on the grid.
The 20-minute race that followed proved even more dramatic. A first lap mêlée
resulted in a rival's car spinning; contact was inevitable but, thankfully, the front-end damage to Humphrey's Elise was far from serious. He survived this and another 'minor incident' to reach the chequered flag.
“It's been a magical journey,” he enthused. “The whole point for me in getting involved was to show people that they really can be a part of motorsport. It's not just this alien F1 world operating in far-flung exotic locations, which no one can afford. Motorsport is on your doorstep – it's on rainy Saturday mornings; it's on sunny days at Silverstone. It's just great to have been part of such a fantastic club meeting – special people, great cars and a real passion for motorsport.”
Humphrey's fellow competitors were clearly impressed too, as they subsequently gave him a hero's champagne reception on the coveted Silverstone podium usually reserved for grand prix-winners. The BBC
will screen highlights of Jake's progress during the coverage of one of this year's two remaining grands prix in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
Since first making his name on CBBC
children's TV, Humphrey went on to become the youngest-ever presenter of Match of the Day
and last year co-hosted the BBC's
Sports Personality of the Year ceremony with Gary Lineker and Sue Barker.