Martin Brundle is to return to the cockpit this weekend as he gets set to race competitively for the first time since his Le Mans 24 Hours appearance seven years ago - around the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.

The ITV F1 commentator began 158 grands prix in the top flight - finishing nine of them up on the podium - and has also triumphed in the iconic round-the-clock La Sarthe classic, with Jaguar back in 1990. Now he is preparing to take to the track once more in a Formula Palmer Audi meeting this weekend, where he will go up against 21 young guns all eager to make their mark - amongst them Brundle's son Alex, one of this season's front-runners.

"Racing in the Formula Palmer Audi Championship this weekend is an early 49th birthday present to myself," Brundle Snr explained. "Who would pass up the chance to race at Spa? It's a great circuit and a unique opportunity for me to compete against my son.

"It will be interesting to see how much speed I still have. Having seen some of the determined moves so far this season by the regular young hot shoes, I will have to be on my best form in traffic!"

Judging by his recent 'shoot-out' performance in an FPA car - when he went up against Alex, series director and fellow ex-F1 ace Jonathan Palmer and the latter's son Jolyon, also a series regular - Brundle will seemingly have little cause to be embarrassed around the daunting, seven kilometre Ardennes circuit. The former McLaren, Ligier, Tyrrell and Jordan star lapped Bedford Autodrome second-fastest of the four, a scant three tenths of a second shy of his 17-year-old son, who currently lies fourth in the 2008 FPA points' standings on the back of his maiden series pole position and third rostrum finish of the campaign at Brands Hatch a fortnight ago.

"This is a great chance to race against my dad," Alex enthused, "as long as he doesn't get in my way! My aim this season is to win the FPA championship, so my main focus at Spa will be to score points.

"Having my father competing should be helpful, as he will be able to give me advice on the circuit and the handling of the car."

"I think it's fantastic that Martin is having a go," added Palmer Snr. "Since stopping F1 racing he has kept testing various top level cars, mainly for his ITV F1 work, but I really admire Martin for proving his love of simply driving racing cars and being prepared to pit himself against the young chargers in FPA, all of whom are fighting to make F1.

"No question he's still very quick. It will be interesting to get feedback from someone who is clearly the most experienced and successful driver to ever race an FPA car!"