Mark Blundell, Le Mans winner in 1992, will race with Bentley at the famous 24 Hour race this year, and here the Brit chats about his latest appointment, how it affects his relationship with MG, his other plans for 2003 and much, much more. Get reading...

Q:
Mark, it was revealed this week that you will race with Bentley at Le Mans this year. How did that come about?

Mark Blundell:
Basically Bentley spoke to me, probably about five months ago on the subject of going to Sebring and Le Mans. I haven't been able to enter into any talks with them because I have been under contract with MG and, in fact, we had a relationship which was continuing into 2003. But there were a couple of situations which basically didn't go where we both wanted them to go and we sort of said that we wouldn't mind seeing what else was out there.

Bentley was still open for me and that's how the deal came about. I'm obviously very happy there. They have had huge success at Le Mans, they're a very, very good team and a very good name to be associated with.

Q:
What do you think you can achieve with Bentley?

MB:
I think they have got a good chance of winning the event and that is basically why I have made the move to go there. They have got the resources, the right people, they've definitely got the right attitude and they've got two years of strong results to back them up - they know what they need to do. I think they have also got a state of the art sportscar design this year, and they're on right tyres. Basically, everything is there, they've just got to put it all together and bring it home.

Q:
Have you ever driven the car yet?

MB:
No, in fact I am going up for a seat fitting as we speak [Wednesday] and we have a very intensive test schedule lined up.

Q:
When will you get behind the wheel and start testing?

MB:
Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks we will get behind the wheel and then go on from there.

Q:
You will be linking up with two other former F1 drivers, Johnny Herbert and David Brabham. How do you feel about that?

MB:
I'm looking forward to it. Obviously, Johnny and I go back a long way, in terms of racing against each other - it is sort of 18-odd years that we have been competing against each other. But none of us has been in a car together, so that is going to be interesting. We get on well. David Brabham's a great guy - he's got good credentials and seems like a nice fit into the team.

Q:
You will also do the opening round of the American Le Mans Series, the Sebring 12 Hours. Is this a warm-up for the real thing?

MB:
Yeah, a warm-up basically for Le Mans - a 12-hour race, a very competitive event, a good marker point that will put everybody into position for where they need to be at for Le Mans. So a good race to start the year off.

Q:
Will you do any other ALMS races with Bentley this year?

MB:
No, not at this point. There isn't anything else planned - just basically a programme with Sebring and Le Mans.

Q:
How does your drive at Bentley fit in with your role as an ambassador for MG?

MB:
That is a situation what we have had to put... put under - how can you put it? It is like a sabbatical. I am a Bentley driver, a 'Bentley Boy' now. We will review things again in six to seven months time and see if there is a continuation, to see if we can carry on in [the MG] relationship. At this point in time, it is on hold.

Q:
How do you think your former MG team-mate Jonny Kane will go in the Audi Sport UK R8 at Sebring - given that he is in an Audi and went well in a private MG in qualifying for the race last year?

MB:
He's got a very good car, a winning car, and some good team-mates. So he should have a very good opportunity. He has got himself into a very good position.

Q:
What other plans do you have for 2003 on and off the track?

MB:
I will be continuing to work with [British broadcaster] ITV, helping with their F1 coverage, so I am going to be very busy travelling to Melbourne, Sebring and Malaysia all in one go - and with all the testing that goes with it. I will be notching up plenty of air miles up there. I will also be carrying on with my role at the BRDC [British Racing Drivers' Club], on the panel at the MSDG [Motorsport Strategic Development Group] and my involvement with Formula Woman as a consultant. There is lots to keep me busy.

Q:
Will you be doing more GP's with ITV this year?

MB:
Ten out of the 16 races at the moment, at a minimum - there might be some more but, at this point in time, definitely ten out of 16.

Q:
Finally, keeping on the F1 track. What do you think of the latest F1 rules announced back in January?

MB:
Interesting - we will have to wait and see how they get implemented and wait and see how everybody reacts on the circuit. If it has a positive reaction with the racing, then that is all well and good. We will have to see - there are a lot of changes this year, a lot of people in different positions and lots of new guys on the block - so fingers crossed.