A famous name stole the headlines as Ultimate Signature Racing stepped up its World Series by Renault testing programme at Snetterton, with Greg Mansell getting behind the wheel of the team's distinctive orange Dallara for the first time.

The son of 1992 F1 world champion Nigel joined Ultimate Racing F3 regular Ricardo Teixiera at the session, setting what the team described as 'impressive times' despite his dry weather running being interrupted by frequent rain showers sweeping across the exposed Norfolk venue.

Mansell, who has been competing in the US-based Atlantic Series this season, having run in British F3 in 2007, admitted that there had been a lot to get used to on the WSbR machine, but claimed that he had settled in well during the course of the day.

"I really enjoyed myself," the younger of Mansell Sr's two sons commented, "It's a very powerful car that is extremely reactive to drive. It's the sort of car that definitely takes a while to master, but it's satisfying to try and learn it.

"In the morning, we had full wet conditions and it was unbelievably slippery, but, in the afternoon, conditions became drier and we were able to push a bit. The most difficult thing to get used to is probably the braking. I'm not used to the carbon brakes you find on the Renault - you have to be really aggressive with them and it's a lot of fun."

With the plight of the Atlantic Series currently uncertain, the 20-year old is considering other options for next season, and could include a World Series campaign with Ultimate among his choices.

The Snetterton test served as a showcase for Ultimate's newly-formed 'Academy' which, backed by the African state of Angola, encompasses every rank of motorsport, from karting via F3 to the World Series. Each step on the ladder was represented on track in a series displays, watched with interest by invited guests including Mansell Sr and Dr Ana Carreira, the Angolan ambassador to Great Britain.

Teixeira, an Angolan citizen, also received his first taste of World Series power, as he gears up for a likely graduation in 2009.

"Once I was in the World Series car, I didn't want to get out!" the 25-year old grinned, "I could have stayed in there until midnight!

"The power is like night and day compared to F3, but it didn't take me too long to get used to it. You have to be very careful how you apply the power, but it really is an amazing car to drive."

Ultimate Group chairman Barry Walsh was delighted with how the day had panned out, thanking Sonangol for its involvement in the team's various motorsport activities which, it was rumoured in the summer, will eventually include Formula One, the group having been linked to a possible buy-in at Italian GP winner Toro Rosso.

"It's been an absolutely fantastic day, which has allowed us to showcase the talents of all our drivers at every level," he noted, "Both Greg and Ricardo did very well in the World Series car, and I would love to see them in our cars next year.

"The test provided a graphic demonstration of just how Ultimate can take a driver from his or her motorsport debut to the very top. Many thanks to all our guests, the Mansell family, and especially our partner, Sonangol. When I look at how far we have come together in a relatively short space of time it makes me very proud - and this is just the beginning!"



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