Le Mans » 19 August 2009
Mansells to share Ginetta-Zytek at Silverstone.
Much has been made about the potential returns of such names as Schumacher, March, Lola and Brabham to the top flight of international motorsport but, while they have yet to come off, another iconic name will be back in action as Nigel Mansell confirms his comeback in sportscars.
It will be a family affair at Silverstone's Le Mans Series finale, as the 1992 F1 champion teams up with son Greg and marque owner Lawrence Tomlinson at the wheel of a Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S for the six-hour race.
Mansell, who remains the most successful British F1 driver of all time, last competed at grand prix level in 1995, but has talked of a possible return ever since sons Greg and Leo embarked on their own international careers. Now, having tested Greg's World Series by Renault machine during the summer's Silverstone festival, he has finally confirmed his own competitive return, set for 11-13 September.
“It's going to be very special for me to be racing again at Silverstone, where I've had some of my most memorable wins," Mansell commented, "I'm delighted that Lawrence has given us the opportunity to compete in the Ginetta-Zytek car and, having tested it at Snetterton, I've no doubt its going to be an incredible weekend.”
The 4.5-litre Ginetta competed at the second round of the Le Mans Series at Spa-Francorchamps, and also took part in the iconic Le Mans 24 hours at La Sarthe in June, but Tomlinson admits that getting the Mansell name on board is a highlight of the programme.
“It's quite simply an honour to have an icon of Nigel's pedigree compete in the Ginetta-Zytek LMP1 car," the 2006 Le Mans GT2 class winner explained, "I'm delighted that Greg is joining the team and, with two Mansells on board, I'm confident we can expect a very competitive race!”
Greg Mansell this week revealed that he was quitting his World Series ride with Ultimate Signature Racing, but had been rumoured to be on his way to a rival team within the series. The Silverstone LMS round does not conflict with either of the remaining WSbR rounds in Germany and Spain.
“I'm very excited to be making my LMP1 debut and to be racing at Silverstone alongside my father and Lawrence," the 21-year old admitted, "It's a phenomenal track to compete at, and to be racing in the championship finale is going to make it all the more special.”
Mansell Sr tested the Ginetta as far back as December last year, running alongside eldest son Leo - and proclaiming 'I not only enjoyed it, but it very much reminded me of my F1 days' - as both considered a sportscar campaign for 2009. Leo currently races a Ferrari in the FIA GT series, having previously joined his father in sampling Chamberlain-Synergy's Lola at Estoril last summer.
"I want to race again, especially with Leo - maybe Greg, too - but it's going to be a commercial decision," Mansell Sr told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper after the Estoril test, "My heart says go for it, but my head says 'hold on, it's a tough environment, who's going to pay for it?'.
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