He may be one of the most experienced F1 drivers in the world, but Jenson Button got the chance to go novice for a day as he sampled the rigours of Rallycross racing with the JRM Racing team.

As part of a feature being filmed with the BBC, Button got a chance to try out Lydden Hill - in less than ideal weather conditions - behind the wheel of a 480bhp MINI Countryman RX, which can reach 0-60mph in just over two seconds.

Following in the muddy wheeltracks of his late father John, who raced a VW Beetle to second place in the 1976 British Rallycross Championship, Button admits he was startled at its power.

Related Articles

"The lights went out and I was in turn one - lost and confused," he said. "You need some skills to drive one of these things. It's got so much power you think it's going to be easy; get to the apex full the handbrake and off you go. But it's not like that at all.

"I can't imagine racing one of these five or six abreast going into the gravel. It's absolute madness but it's what you think of as a child - the buzz, the action, the sliding. It was a mega mega experience today and completely different to what I'm used to. Both cars were great fun to drive - they're a lot more powerful than when my dad raced, but the same principles apply and you need real skill to master them. On your own, it's scary enough - imagine going up against five other drivers!"

Button was joined on the day by former F1 rival turned BBC presenter David Coulthard, who at least had some prior experience of driving a rallycross car having gone head-to-head with reigning world champion Petter Solberg in last year's Race of Champions in Barbados. However, the Scot was nonetheless awestruck and full of praise for a discipline that is enjoying a prolonged period of resurgence on an international scale.

"My eyes were out on stalks all the time!" quipped the 13-time grand prix winner, "I thought there was a small murmur of someone screaming for help inside the cockpit and then I realised it was me! I was still shaking when I got out - it's a hell of a ride! These cars really put a smile on your face.

"Rallycross is a very different form of motorsport to what I'm used to and it requires a high level of commitment, because the drivers have to deal with an ever-evolving mix of asphalt and gravel that changes from lap-to-lap, which means they need to be extremely reactive. I have tremendous respect for them, because there are just so many variables.

"For Jenson, I think this was a little walk down memory lane - it was John Button giving up his own racing career to focus on Jenson's that allowed him to fulfill his dreams - while for me, it was a fascinating, adrenaline-fuelled day. I've always enjoyed trying out different sports to appreciate how skilled their competitors are."