Formula One stars past and present Johnny Herbert and Marc Gene have become the first big names among what is expected to be an impressive array of drivers to announce their participation in the Altech South African F1x2 Charity Grand Prix, which will be held at Kyalami next month.

The unique event, which will culminate on Monday 9 August with the first double-headed two-seater race programme ever staged, will help to raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and Unite Against Hunger charities.

Both Herbert and Gene were moved to become involved in the event as a result of the personal invitation extended last month by Mandela to F1 'heroes' past and present.

Herbert continues to be a hugely popular favourite, and has followed on from an F1 career in which he scored three grand prix victories while driving for Benetton, Lotus, Sauber, Stewart and Jaguar, by taking part in sportscar events around the world. The Briton is a former winner of the Le Mans 24-Hour race, and finished second at La Sarthe this year while driving for the Veloqx Audi team. He also piloted an historic Jaguar D-Type in the closing event of the British GP weekend at Silverstone.

Spaniard Gene is currently the test and reserve driver for BMW Williams in F1, and recently stood in at short notice for the injured Ralf Schumacher at the French and British rounds. Like many of the current stars of Formula One, he started his grand prix career with Minardi, completing a couple of seasons with the team before accepting the testing role with Williams.

The current Wilux Minardi Cosworth team will be turning up in strength in South Africa, with 2003 race driver Nicolas Kiesa, 2004 star Gianmaria 'Gimmi' Bruni, and 2004 reserve driver Bas Leinders all scheduled to appear at Kyalami. In addition, reigning British F3 champion - and current F3000 competitor - Alan van der Merwe, who proved to be very popular with the Kyalami crowd when he drove one of a pair of F1x2 cars that appeared at the Johannesburg circuit in June, will be back for more on-track action at the August event.

Further exciting announcements concerning the South African F1x2 Charity Grand Prix, which will also include an international extreme sports competition and a variety music spectacular, will be made shortly.